No timetable for Wout van Aert to return to racing after COVID-19

Until mid-week, Jumbo-Visma had Wout van Aert as the absolute favorite to win the Tour of Flanders. But after their Classics captain contracted COVID-19 and was forced to miss their home race, the team walked away empty-handed despite going into the race with an aggressive strategy. The best the team could do was ninth with Christophe Laporte.

Jumbo-Visma was left out of the early breakaway, but as the peloton approached the first Hellingen block in the final and the breakaway began to wobble, Nathan Van Hooydonck attacked on the Molenberg and took out a dozen riders, including his partner team member Mick van Dijke. in a strong counterattack.

However, the Tour of Flanders is hardly ever kind. As the pace picked up before the second block of cobbled climbs, Laporte found himself climbing out of the roadside culvert after being brought down in an accident, with neither he nor Tiesj Benoot able to follow when Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin- Phoenix). ) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) launched the winning play. Van der Poel took his second Tour of Flanders win, while Pogacar was overtaken on the podium by Dylan van Baarle (Ineos) and Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), who caught up with the duo in the final 250 metres.

With Van Aert the team’s most proven rider for the Classics, it was another missed opportunity for Jumbo-Visma. Sporting director Arthur van Dongen told Het Nieuwsblad that he felt Van Aert would have been there with Laporte at his side.