His story reads like a novel: one year ago, after winning his first Tour stage in Albi and showing his abilities to the world, he made a horrible crash in a Tour time trial. Wout Van Aert, formerly a cyclocross ace, needed half a year to come back to a decent level. Could 2020 become his year? Many had their doubts, after his heavy crash.
However, Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is exceeding the highest expectations. This year, he showed he is a world class rider. "Everything he touches turns into gold", cycling pundits repeat.
He won the Strade Bianchi and Milan-Sanremo, a stage in the Dauphiné with an uphill finish, the green points jersey in the Dauphiné (a stage race which is often dubbed as a 'small Tour de France'), the Belgian time trial championship and now a second Tour stage in Privas, where he beat the world's elite in a long bunch sprint, slightly uphill. However, this was enough to rule out the fast Australian Caleb Ewan of the Belgian Lotto team.
The Flemish classic races are still to come, Van Aert already said he eyes the Tour of Flanders. Could it be?