Van Empel also strongest in Boom
Fem van Empel has won the fifth race of the Superprestige classification. In Boo...
Wout van Aert looks forward to the start of Milano-Sanremo on Saturday. The 28-year-old Belgian rider of Team Jumbo-Visma will be participating in his fifth edition of La Primavera. He has already won the race once, in 2020. Van Aert regained his confidence at Tirreno-Adriatico last week after suffering an illness ahead of the season.
Milano-Sanremo is the longest one-day race on the cycling calendar, measuring roughly 294 kilometres. Due to illness while training at a high altitude, Van Aert's spring preparation has not gone as planned. As a result, he skipped Strade Bianche and began his season last week in Tirreno-Adriatico. "The intention was to start Strade Bianche one hundred percent fit and be in perfect shape throughout spring. I still have to grow into that shape. But despite the nasty crash on the fourth day of Tirreno-Adriatico, I can look back on the past week with satisfaction."
"My doubts are gone, and I'm happy about it."
Van Aert is confidently anticipating the race on Saturday. "Before the start of Tirreno-Adriatico, I was concerned about my shape. You never know how you will feel after an illness during preparation. Those doubts are gone now, and I'm happy about that."
The Belgian leader has a strong team behind him. "It's essential to have a strong team at Milano-Sanremo to start fresh at the Cipressa. From there on, the race is often decided. We have a solid team, and it might make the difference. However, the way the race develops in Milano-Sanremo differs from a Flemish classic. Taking turns to attack is not ideal. In a fast race like Milano-Sanremo, you have an advantage if you stay in the peloton longer."
Van Aert knows what it's like to win the first monument of the season. In 2020 he won after a close battle with Julian Alaphilippe. "I am very proud that this race is already on my list of honours. I was alongside Alaphilippe on the Poggio descent in the edition I won. Freshness has always played a significant role in this descent. Last year Mohoric made the difference there too. Though I don't think the race will be decided on the descent every year."
Van Aert will be joined by Christophe Laporte, Attila Valter, Jan Tratnik, Nathan Van Hooydonck, Jos van Emden and Edoardo Affini on behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma.