Wout van Aert's Giro d'Italia participation still in the balance

'We need to see when he’s training again, then we can make a plan-B' says Visma team boss Richard Plugge

Clock09:01, Wednesday 3rd April 2024
Wout van Aert at Dwars Door Vlaanderen

© Getty Images

Wout van Aert at Dwars Door Vlaanderen

Wout van Aert's hopes of racing the Giro d'Italia remain in the balance, with Visma-Lease a Bike stating that the next two weeks will decide whether the Belgian needs more time to recover from the crash that wrecked his Classics campaign.

Van Aert hit the deck with 67km to go in Dwars door Vlaanderen last Wednesday and was diagnosed with multiple fractures to his sternum, ribs and one of his collarbones. The initial indication was that the rider would miss an extended period of racing, with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix wiped off his programme, and major doubts over the Giro.

The team have yet to rule Van Aert out of the Italian Grand Tour but have discussed various plan-B scenarios at an internal level. Reports in Belgium suggest that the Giro remains a possibility and plan-B options are unclear.

One of the main reasons Van Aert decided to target the Giro was because he and his coaching team felt that it was the best preparation for the Olympic Games. Were he to shift from that plan and take part in the Tour de France in July, it would drastically alter his preparation, and mean that Visma would need to change the eight-rider roster they already announced for the Tour.

At the start of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, team boss Richard Plugge gave a brief assessment of his rider when speaking to GCN and Escape Collective.

"We have to plan when he is ready. We have to plan for what’s next and that’s a bit of a problem because we don’t know when we can do that," Plugge said.

"It could be a couple of weeks, it could be a couple of days. Well, not two days, but we need to see when he recovers and when he’s training again. Then we can make a plan-B."

When asked if Van Aert would shift to either the Tour or the Vuelta a España as part of that plan-B, Plugge replied: "That depends on how he’s evolving. We can’t give an answer to that at the moment. We don’t know if he’s back on the bike in a couple of weeks and at this moment it’s only been four days.

"We have to see how he recovers, how quickly that goes, and when he’s back on the bike. Then we’ll make a plan.”

On Tuesday, a report in Het Laatste Nieuws suggested that the rider’s pain had begun to subside and that he could race the Giro d’Italia after a reduced period of training before building his condition through the three-week race.

Overall, despite Van Aert’s condition and the lack of results in the first two Monuments of the men’s season, Visma continue to have a successful start to the year. The Dutch squad ha e won 18 races in 2024 already, and are on track to compete for overall titles in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

"We’ve never had such a successful start to the season, so far, with the victories that we had in Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris Nice. So far even with these accidents and incidents, we’ve had a very good season. But it’s a bitter-sweet layer over the good news,” Plugge added.

For more of the latest from the pro peloton, visit our racing news page.

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