Wout van Aert wins the race in his home town Herentals.

Wout van Aert won’t ride cyclocross World Championships

No Mathieu van der Poel and no Wout van Aert at the cyclocross world championships this year.

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Wout van Aert announced he won’t travel to the world cyclocross championships later this month in Fayetteville, USA. He told Sporza after winning the X2O Badkamers Trofee race in his home town of Herentals that he feels it’s a pity but an inevitable decision with regards to the spring road campaign. On the same day it was announced that Mathieu van der Poel won’t be able to defend his world title due to a back injury.

“This Sunday will be my last cyclocross race of this winter,” Van Aert said. “It’s a question I have been asked a while but actually I was never meant to do the world championships the season. Of course I would have loved to but we decided to stick to the initial plan to start preparing for the road season after Sunday.” On whether he started to doubt now the legs are so good he answered. “It makes it a little more difficult in my head. It’s always a difficult choice to skip a beautiful race like that but my goals are in the Spring and that’s what I am focusing on now.”

There has been a lot of speculation on whether Van Aert would travel to the United States to try and win his fourth rainbow jersey. It would mean missing many crucial training days in preparation of the road season. He announced the decision would be made after the Belgian national championships this Sunday. Before the start in Herentals today he was asked by Sporza if Mathieu van der Poel’s decision would change his mind but Van Aert answered no. When asked if his decision had already been made, he was silent and smiled.

Van Aert won eight of the nine races he started this season, only missing out in Hulst due to a dropped chain in the opening lap. On Sunday he will end his cyclocross season with the national championships in Middelkerke.

A world cyclocross championships without Wout van Aert (world elite champion 2016, 2017 and 2018) and Mathieu van der Poel (elite world champion 2015, 2019, 2020 and 2021) means we will see a different world champion for the first time since 2014 when Zdeněk Štybar brought home the rainbow stripes in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.

Tom Pidcock is the biggest favorite after the withdrawal of Van Aert and Van der Poel. Of the ten races he rode this season, he won three and ended on the podium a total of eight times. The British champion won’t defend his national title this weekend but opts for a training camp with Team Ineos-Grenadiers on Mallorca before traveling to Arkansas to try and win his first elite world championships. Pidcock already won the junior title in 2017 and the U23 world title in 2019.

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