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Wout van Aert has won the Krawatencross in Lille in an impressive way. For the Belgian all-rounder of Team Jumbo-Visma it is his first victory since his nasty crash in the time trial of last year’s Tour de France.
Van Aert, who started from the third row, moved up lap by lap. After three laps he joined the front of the race and not much later he was able to leave his rivals behind. Van Aert kept his pace and was able to keep the first chaser Quinten Hermans at twenty seconds and soloed to the win after an hour of racing.
“When I crossed the line, a lot went through my mind. This is the confirmation that I can still do it”, an emotional Van Aert said. “It might not be my biggest victory, but it certainly feels like it. Especially in front of my home crowd. It went through my mind all week: this race and the dream to win here. It is a nice reward after all I have been through in the past months. This is very emotional.”
Van Aert felt very good from the start. “I have quietly taken my time to move up. Due to some mistakes by others, I found myself in the lead with Hermans. I then continued to pull and tried to make the difference.”
Van Aert concludes his cyclocross season in Merksplas on Sunday. After his rehabilitation and his comeback in cyclocross, the next chapter will begin. The triple cyclocross world champion hopes to return to the highest level on the road as well.