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Today's GvA

I Can’t Do This Season any Good

So after his win at the Schaal Sels, Wout Van Aert got Gaia “on his roof” because of the “Black Angus” case, Wout was offered a Black Angus calf, meant to be offered alive. Wout didn’t suspect this affair could have such serious consequences, he only thought about the tasty meat and so he decided to have him slaughtered before he could see it alive, otherwise he wouldn’t eat it as easily. “What a hoopla”! Even the actor of the popular TV series “Thuis”, Frank Bomans, wanted to buy it in order to save its live. “Sorry, Frank Bomans, I really didn’t know it was a living calf. It’s now been decided to leave the beast in the farm. We shall see further, after the cross season.”

About next Sunday’s cross in Geraardsbergen he says that he first founded rather early in the season [it wasn’t so early in previous years] but now that we are getting closer to it, he gets more and more excited. He had a training session in the Vosges last month and when back from it he says sighing “Well now still two road races?” Even though he knows that he’s gonna incredibly suffer in that first cross. On the road you can also go deep but you always have moments when you can recuperate. Soon it’s gonna be again racing one hour full gas in the red. But it was a good summer for him and that helps.

He’s proud of his road season, even though the prologue of the Tour of Belgium is the only thing that made him blench. All the rest he knew that he could manage it. About the fact he’s better than 80% of the road peloton, he answered that whoever is following the the races knows that he can get “out of his feet” (sounds like a Dutch idiom, lol). It’s not illegal that there’s no 50 Belgian riders better than him, he says (hmm well really?). Ever since his first road race in Puivelde, he got no freedom, was watched out for. Last year, he could attack from the first kilometers and then was exhausted in the finale, he got smarter this summer.

About how many road teams contacted him? It was rather okay. He read more rumours in the gazettes than got phone calls. About two or three teams carefully tried. But he stands by the fact that he has always stated he had no plan to leave Crelan Vastgoedservice. After last season, it lasted a little before they could extend the contract but he’s glad he signed it. Most teams know that, he says.

Etixx was obstinate in contracting him because Peeters is the “godfather” of Crelan (his nephew Rob is still racing for Crelan) but Wout argues that for that very reason, Peeters knows very well that if Wout leaves, the team would be decapitated. He then argues that if next year there’s a World Tour team with Colnago bikes (Crelan’s bike manufacturer) they are again gonna say he should go there.

With Crelan, he’s got the privilege to fix his own schedule. They know that if they let him do his thing, it always comes good. It would be a lot harder with a team like Quick Step. You could agree beforehand that you would just do a restricted amount of races but if suddenly a rider is pulling out of a race, you have to replace him at a moment that it does not fit with your agenda.

With regards to money, he agrees that at this point he’s got a lot more to gain in cross than on the road and that it would be crazy to change but he also made it clear that if you win a classic you all of a sudden land in another category. On the road you’ve got riders with a minimum contract and others earning 4 or 5 million a year. In the field, the gap between minimum contract and top earners much smaller. But in the field, you have your salary, your start bonuses and you can deal more with private sponsors. The great road teams do not tolerate that. But if he really gets fed up with the cross and still wishes to turn road, than the financial aspect won’t hold him off.

He realizes that he can hardly do any better than last year. “I cannot do this season any good. If I win a lot they would say that it gets boring and much too easy. If I don’t win they are gonna ask what the problem is.” Besides, the fact that Mathieu is out for the first races, each race they would claim it is because his main rival wasn’t there. He almost has to get deliberately second.

The big question is about where he could find his motivation since he’s already won almost everything while not 22 yet [the Slow Rider question;)]

No problem, he says. He sees a lot of possible challenges. He mentions Laurens Sweeck and Michael Vanthourenhout who get stronger every year. On the Koppenberg he’s not gonna beat them with fingers in the nose. Besides, he would get more satisfaction winning in a nice battle with Mathieu in a second-tier cross like Lebbeke than in a so-called top cross. More challenge, he wants to be Euro champion. Last year he’s just won one World Cup event, he can do better. Besides he wants to show his rainbow jersey. That’s his biggest motivation.

He’s raced 23 races on the road. They are the only 23 days he hasn’t worn his rainbow jersey. He’s so proud of it. You never know what could happen in the future. Just imagine if it happens that he only got World Champion once. It would a shame not to wear it for half a year.

About the first season without Nys, he says that sportingly speaking that would not change much because last year he was ahead of him most of the time but the feeling would be different. If it was crowded around his van, it was even more around Sven’s. The Nys supporters shouted louder than his own. He thinks the Nys supporters are also cross fans and won’t leave the races. Besides, Sven is now Fidea manager and not totally away.

About being the new standard-bearer of cyclocross he says he notices that with people’s attention. Some Germans asked him to send a signed photograph, Americans react if he posts a video, every gazette and magazine wants to interview him before the season start. Last year they also wanted to reach Sven and Mathieu, this year they all want to find him. With all the risks it takes. If something soon goes wrong, it will be magnified. But as of now, there’s not much to tell about him, he’s not married yet, so divorcing cannot either. :D

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