Wout van Aert explored the course of Strade Bianche with his teammates from Jumbo-Visma today and will try to defend his title on Saturday.
The Belgian rider stayed on the Spanish island of Tenerife in recent weeks and tried to prepare himself for the spring on and around the famous volcano El Teide.
“I have certainly been able to take good steps in the last week. It’s all right with the feelings and wattage. The gravel roads are slightly better than in the summer. The roads look nice, but it is treacherous when it stays dry. It will depend on the rain whether the dust disappears or not.”
Van Aert skipped Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
“The opening weekend is a bit in the way after the cross season. I really need those three weeks to prepare for the busy month ahead. Then I have to make choices.”
The Belgian saw an impressive Van der Poel at work in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. “Mathieu in particular looked strong, which was impressive.” The Dutch champion will therefore become one of his main opponents in Strade Bianche, but Van Aert does not want to focus on Van der Poel and Julian Alaphilippe. “A lot more important riders come here than at the opening weekend.”
“You should certainly keep an eye on those two riders, but it is one of the strongest field of participants we will see this year. It is wise to keep an eye on more guys. I also think that Tom Pidcock can definitely fight for victory. Traditionally many climbers participate. I like that very much and it shows how important this race has become ”, said Van Aert.