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Wout van Aert finally returns to racing

The Belgian is toeing the line for the first time in 2 months at the Tour of Norway

Wout van Aert after Norway: ‘The confidence has grown’

After an over eight-week hiatus, Wout van Aert is set to make his racing comeback next Thursday. The 29-year-old Belgian is excited to race again, and will jump into the Tour of Norway from May 23 to 26.

Finally recovered from Belgian crash

Van Aert’s upcoming race marks his return to competition following a rough crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen. The incident left him with fractures in his collarbone, sternum, and seven ribs. Consequently, the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne champion had to withdraw from all spring classics and miss out on his debut at the Giro d’Italia. He then underwent an extensive rehabilitation period.

“It hasn’t always been easy sitting on the sidelines, but fortunately, I can now look ahead again”, Van Aert said. “I’m not in the best shape; it’s a test. But I’m looking forward to it.”

Getting some speed back

The event will give the Belgian a chance to get some speed in his legs at race pace.

“I am looking forward to pinning on a race number again. I have been able to train more and more in recent weeks, but it is still different from racing,” he explained. “So, my main goal is to test myself and see how I do in a race. Without any expectations.”

The Visma – LAB directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman says the race is a good start for his star rider, but he knows it’s just the beginning of his entry back into the pro peloton.

“It’s great to have Wout back in the team after his crash. He starts without any pressure to perform. This is a good moment for him to test himself in competition again. We don’t know yet what the rest of his race schedule will look like. We will see in the coming weeks,” Zeeman said.

Van Aert will be joined in Norway by teammates Bart Lemmen, Koen Bouwman, Tijmen Graat, Menno Huising and Per Strand Hagenes.

The question of Jonas Vingegaard

As far as van Aert’s teammate, Jonas Vingegaard, it’s still not clear when he will be racing again. The Dane crashed in Spain in April, involving several riders, including Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič. The defending Tour de France champion remained hospitalized in Spain. Among the injured, Vingegaard suffered the most severe injuries, diagnosed with fractures to his ribs and collarbone, along with lung damage. He was discharged from the hospital on April 16, twelve days after the incident.

Although he is riding again, it’s unclear when he will be able to start riding one of the pre-Tour stage races. His coach, Tim Heemskerk, did say that Vingegaard may be able to join his teammates at an altitude camp in the coming weeks.