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In what could be called the best contract extension announcement of all time team Jumbo-Visma has put to bed the rumblings of Wout van Aert’s contract negotiations with other teams. The Belgian sprinter/climber/cyclocross phenom will remain with the Dutch team for the next three years.
“I really wanted to extend because I have become a lot better with this team,” Van Aert said in a video statement about the new deal. “I think everyone has seen that I have made huge steps forward as a rider in recent years. I was always in shape when I needed to. I owe a lot to the team to be able to work towards my goals.”
Originally a cyclocross megastar, Van Aert honed in his road skill with Jumbo-Visma starting in 2019. That year he won not only a stage of the Tour de France but also the Belgian national individual time trial championship, and two stages along with the points classification at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
After an incredible 2020 where Van Aert came out of lockdown on a rampage, winning Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, two stages of the Tour de France, and taking second in the ITT and road race at the World Championships and the Tour of Flanders. Around that time rumors swirled about other teams picking up the Jumbo-Visma rider, notably Ineos Grenadiers.
“The decision that I wanted to re-sign was made pretty quickly in my mind,” Van Aert said. “I don’t have to explain to you that there was more interest in me, but I have never had talks with another team. My goal was to extend the contract.”
It was not only Van Aert’s results that impressed in 2020 but also his work during the Tour de France for his team leader Primoz Roglic. Van Aert was frequently seen setting the pace on high mountain roads while pure climbers were spat out the back of the lead group. As Van Aert put it, “we have become the best team in the world. It was best for me to stay. I am glad that it is done and I am relieved that I can speak out about it.”