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"Wout rode too much on the road during the summer and now lacks freshness. I really wonder whether he can return this season."

Photo: UCI Channel

CYCLO-CROSS

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WOUT VAN AERT

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NEWS
29.11.2016 @ 11:19 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Should Wout van Aert be worried? Certainly, says Roland Liboton. The tenfold Belgian cyclocross champion knows why Mathieu Van der Poel has clearly been better in recent weeks and he warns his compatriot. "Wout rode too much on the road during the summer and now lacks freshness. I really wonder whether he can return this season,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

 

Wout Van Aert was beaten in Ruddervoorde, Asper-Gavere, Zeven and now also in Hamme. The four latest clashes between Van Aert and Van der Poel have given the Belgian world champion as many defeats. According to his entourage, there is no drama as the season is still long. But one man has reservations: Roland Liboton, four-time world champion and ten times Belgian champion.

 

"Wout has too much on his plate," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "He pays for that. In the summer we were all quite happy with his performance on the road. Rightly so. He rode everywhere and rode finals. Clever. But did he need that? You see the effects today. He has enough strength and endurance but he looks a little tired. He lacks freshness in his head and in his legs. I thought: he could limit his road schedule better. Let that be a lesson to him. I know that everybody likes to say that over time Van Aert will even win classics. Maybe that's true. But he will have to choose. Nobody can combine road and cyclo-cross. I've tried that before, Roger De Vlaeminck has tried, but sooner or later you will irrevocably be fighting against yourself. No one is Superman. Not even Wout. "

 

Does Van Aert pay the price for his enthusiasm and eagerness? 

 

"That's right," Liboton continued. "Remember that he is still only 22. Moreover, he has barely skipped a race since the beginning of the season. Add the races America. Sooner or later you get the backlash of that. That’s happening now.

 

The question arises whether this  can be changed in the short term. Liboton fears that it will be impossible. 

 

"It does not make sense to change the training now. And he cannot allow himself to take two weeks of rest. He does not have the time. The busiest time of year is upon us. Pretty soon it's New Year. Afterwards, the championships are right there. He lacks time. You can step off the gas and rebuild. But whether it is sufficient to get the much needed freshness? I don’t think so.”

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