Wout van Aert has extended his deal at Jumbo-Visma by two years to 2026.
The undisputed all-rounder of the peloton has had another terrific season and lit up the Tour de France in July with a string of devastating attacks – helping deliver six stage wins for his team, taking three for himself and securing the green jersey.
He also played a starring role in the mountains as team-mate Jonas Vingegaard dethroned Tadej Pogacar for the yellow jersey.
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"I feel very good with this team. We have already shown that I can perform at my best here,” Van Aert said.
“That is also thanks to the facilities I get there. It surprised me the team wanted to negotiate my contract again, but it's a nice recognition. We quickly agreed.
“I don't think a longer partnership poses any risks because we've been able to get better for the past four years.
“One of the team's slogans is 'better every day', which is not coming out of thin air. We keep improving in performance, the team's facilities, everything.
“Because of this, I'm confident I won't have to worry about being on this squad for the next four years. We constantly strive for the best, which made the decision simple.
“I give the team that assurance, and it gives me the peace of mind I need to succeed in the upcoming years."
Van Aert will chase an elusive gold medal at the World Championships in the men’s road race on Sunday. He has finished runner-up on three occasions at the event, although he boasts three world cyclo-cross titles.
The Belgian can expect stiff competition from the likes of Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) and Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia).
Can WVA win a Grand Tour?
Since his star turn in France, some have begun to wonder whether Van Aert could challenge for the overall victory at a Grand Tour.
The prospect of a general classification challenge was half-raised after he became only the third rider in history to win a mountain stage, time trial and bunch sprint at the same Tour in 2021, but those faint murmurings have shifted into a full-on debate after an even more impressive 2022.
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Eurosport experts Bradley Wiggins and Adam Blythe said after the Tour that Van Aert could win the yellow jersey – although they fear he would lose his wow factor by targeting it.
“He can [win it] but I just don’t see why he’d want to, he’d just lose so much of what he’s good at already,” said Blythe.
When quizzed about why anyone would not want to win yellow, Blythe continued: “It’s not a guarantee, is it?
“He can try and win the Tour de France but might risk losing all the classics that he does [and] everything else that we love about Wout van Aert would be forgotten about, that would be in the past, it wouldn’t be what he is.”
Wiggins also wondered if there would be appetite in Van Aert’s homeland for him to win yellow.
“The sport needs people like Wout van Aert as well, let’s not forget,” he said.
“Belgium needs Wout van Aert to win the classics and be the top classics rider, I just think it's great that he can come on and win the green jersey. Do we need him to win the yellow as well?
“He could, but let's just leave it as it is because it's exciting isn’t it?”
Blythe added: “I just want him to stay the way he is, just get better at what he’s doing, but I think if he gets the yellow we’ll just lose all the excitement.”
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Stream the UCI Road World Championships live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk
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