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"I do not think I am a step above the other racer a step higher than the other riders. In many races, I have had to give my absolute maximum to get the win."





08.12.2015 @ 06:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wout van Aert is the man of the first part of the cyclo-cross season. The 21-year-old captain of the Vastgoedservice team leads all the major classifications and is clearly still hungry. Sportweekend travelled to Spain to find Van Aert’s secrets.


"I do not think I am a step above the other racer a step higher than the other riders. In many races, I have had to give my absolute maximum to get the win,” Wout van Aert tells from Spain where he is attending a training camp to lay the foundation for the second part of the season.


Van Aert already has 11 victories this season. "Thanks to a good summer I had a lot of confidence for the season. I felt that I was doing well, but I certainly had not expected to lead all the classifications at this point. It surpasses my expectations."


Niels Albert’s protégé now has a shot at the overall win in the Bpost Bank Trofee, the World Cup and the Superprestige. "Before the season they were not my goals but now they are. But it will be hard to compete with Nys, especially in the World Cup.”


Van Aert’s progress I no coincidence. "I'm a hard worker," he explained his success. “At this camp, I want to finish each workout perfectly. I don’t shy away from doing an extra hour.


"In this way I also improve the mental aspect: by working hard I have already come far. My character helps me: after a setback, I often come back stronger. Later I will reap the fruits of it. I don’t give up quickly. I have a great desire to do well.”


Wout van Aert has already been acquainted with the downside of his success. "It annoys me," Van Aert said about the criticism he has faced.


"There is always criticism and you cannot make everyone happy. During my short time at the top, I have learned that I don’t have to get bothered too much,


"But I don’t like criticism that is not warranted or when things are insinuated. It is unfortunate that a lot of people make up stories on their own.”


Wout van Aert seems to be the Sven Nys’ successor. "I am admiring Sven and his palmares enormously," said Van Aert. "I am almost certain he cannot be matched in today’s cyclo-cross.


"I sincerely hope that my career will end with just a few more titles. Sven is a great rider, but he did not show much at the championships. That’s also true for me at the moment but I hope to change it one day."


Hence, the championships are red-circled in Van Aert’s schedule. "The will be two nice championships: the Belgian Championships in my own town (Lille) and the World Championships in Belgium (Zolder). I want to be at my best level for those two races.


"As a boy I was at the 2004 Belgian Championships in Lille as a spectator. Back then I had never thought I would ever get a chance to compete for the title. It’s never worked out at a Belgian Championships but it must be possible.


"I have to be patient. I have the ability to finish it off, but things have to go well. Whether I will hold back a little during this month? I try to have something in reserve and with my lead in the classifications, I can save a little more than my rivals.”


Van Aert also shared his opinion about Mathieu van der Poel, Lars Boom and the possibility of combining road and cyclo-cross.


About Mathieu van der Poel: "After his injury, he has one day on his mind: the Worlds. That’s certainly allowed for him. It will be difficult to fight against him in Zolder. I will give my absolute maximum.


About Lars Boom: "I have read how many races Lars will do. It still seems that he mainly rides for fun. I guess that Boom still has ambitions for the championships. That’s good for the sport. It would be nice if he can prove that it is possible to combine the road with cyclo-cross.”


About the combination of road and cyclo-cross: "As long as I have not won a distinctive jersey, I have the feeling that I have not achieved everything yet. As a child, I never dreamed about riding on the road. And that’s still the same. For the time being, I have no doubt.”



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