Wout van Aert had to go deep for his victory in the Strade Bianche. The Belgian of Jumbo-Visma soloed on Saturday to victory in the Italian WorldTour race over largely unpaved roads.
“It was a real battle of wear and tear,” Van Aert looks back on the race on his team’s website. “I was the strongest in the last part of the race. In the leading group everyone had good legs, but I have always believed in myself and in my plan.”
At about 12 kilometers from the finish, 25-year-old Van Aert jumped out of a leading group of five riders. He continued to build on his lead and eventually stayed ahead of the first pursuers for half a minute in Piazza del Campo.
“On the last lane I went full and my technique worked to my advantage. It was an all-or-nothing attempt. Fortunately, it worked out very well. It was a long day and the heat was exhausting” he at temperatures of around 40 degrees.
Wout van Aert started his solo on the last gravel strip. (Photo: Getty Images)
“Fell in love with this match three years ago”
For Van Aert, the win in the Strade Bianche marked his first in a one-day WorldTour race. “It was a dream to win this race sometime in my career. That I have already succeeded makes me very proud. I live for these races. After a period of training, it feels fantastic.”
More than a year ago, the three-time cyclocross world champion also won a stage in the Tour de France. He also won two stages in the Critérium du Dauphiné and the final classification in the Tour of Denmark.
“My stage victory in the Tour de France was very big, but the Strade Bianche is still one of the most beautiful races on the calendar,” he says. “I fell in love with this competition three years ago.”
Van Aert was on the podium in all three editions of the Strade Bianche. In the past two seasons he finished third in the race to and from Siena.