Van Aert: "Now I aspire to everything in the Olympics"

The 26-year-old Belgian achieved a mountain stage, a time trial and a sprint in the same edition of the Tour. Cavendish reached his second green jersey.


Wout van Aert became Saint Émilion the second 21st century rider to win high mountain days, time trials and sprints in the Tour, which equated him with Thor Hushovd. However, he went further the next day, in Paris, by achieving such a milestone in the same edition. A record that Bernard Hinault reached in the French round of 1979. In this 2021, Van Aert conquered the second time of the race, the Ventoux and the Champs Elysees. Almost nothing. And with the Belgian champion's jersey, he prevented Mark Cavendish from breaking the all-time record of his compatriot Eddy Merckx. The 35th will have to wait for 2022.

Van Aert, a triple cyclo-cross world champion, scored his sixth win at the Grande Boucle in three starts. At 26, Jumbo technicians, rivals and specialists believe that he can take another step forward in three weeks, but he considers himself “too heavy” with his 1.87 height and 78 kilos: “First, I will focus on trying beat monuments, classics, and week-long competitions. Afterwards, I should improve my climbing and lose weight. We will see. ”

His tremendous moment of form will take him to fly to Tokyo with the favorite poster in the distance and time trials: “Although between the podium ceremony and the trip to Japan there was not even four hours of difference, I am very motivated to participate in the Olympic Games and aspire to the maximum in the two appointments ”. Van Aert singled out Mike Teunissen as the key to his eighth notch of 2021: “He just hit a perfect pitch. Despite the fact that only four men finished the Tour in the Jumbo, one climbed into the box as second place (Jonas Vingegaard) and we took four victories (his three and Sepp Kuss's in Andorra). ”

Cavendish lost the Morkov wheel and then found no gap between Van Aert and the fences. Still, his second green jersey awaited him at the final ceremony. In fact, he became the cyclist with the most years of difference when achieving the two garments: a decade from 2011 to 2021. The Briton dominates on the Champs Elysees, with four goals, but the assault on the record that he shares with Merckx, 34 stages, was tied. At 36, he does not want to stop: "I suppose I will continue the next campaign, I need to speak with Deceuninck, although I intend to continue until the body endures."

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