Wout van Aert has bitten back at Remco Evenepoel’s controversial comments following the Men’s Road Race at the World Championships.
Belgium went all-in for Van Aert, but he could not respond to Julian Alaphilippe’s stinging attack which helped the Frenchman defend the title.
Van Aert said he did not have the legs to go with the Frenchman and was sorry for not getting the medal for Belgium, but Evenepoel felt the team should have adopted a different strategy as he claimed he had the form to win the race.
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Speaking on Extra Time Koers, Evenepoel said: “I also said straight out that I thought I might be able to win the race in a certain scenario. 'Do I get a chance or not?' I asked. ‘No,’ was the answer. Okay, that was clear.
"The planned tactic was followed: Everything for Wout, with Jasper [Stuyven] as a substitute leader. I had to work.”
Van Aert is preparing for Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, but he was dragged into the controversy and said he was hurt by Evenepoel’s comments.
“Remco's comments upset me," Van Aert said. “I expected that there would be criticism because we didn’t win. But I think it's not wise to add fuel to the fire from someone within the team.
I think Remco said a lot more during Extra Time Koers than he said in the team meeting.
"I think he was the one who agreed with the tactics, who agreed with the selection. He has been preaching for weeks about how he was looking forward to it. So I think it's really weird to turn 180 degrees now. I don't think it's wise to throw oil on the fire afterwards.
"I was heartbroken that I couldn't finish it off. Had I been better in the final and had won, it would have been fantastic. I also saw that everyone was genuinely disappointed. It really hasn't been easy for me and then this is added on top. That's too bad."
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