Last year, cyclocross fans had an extra excuse to watch the Spring Classics, as Wout van Aert (Cibel – Cebon OffRoad Team) raced a number of the one-day races with his former Veranda’s Willems – Crelan road team. Fans were on Wout Watch, especially when the three-time World Champion took third at Strade Bianche.
The MvdP Challenge
Last week, Mathieu van der Poel’s Corendon – Circus team announced that Van der Poel will be joining Van Aert in putting together a Classics campaign before he hits the World Cup mountain bike circuit.
Corendon – Circus received ProContinental status for the upcoming season and secured wildcards for the six spring Flanders Classics: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Tour of Flanders, Scheldeprijs and the Brabantse Pijl. The team also received a wildcard for the 2019 Amstel Gold race.
The team is calling the road/’cross/mountain campaign the “MvdP Challenge.”
In a press release from the team, Van der Poel said (translated), “Especially, my first Spring Classic will be a challenge. “But let it be clear, I will not start in a Classic as a peloton filler. I want to be at the start in top condition. Gent-Wevelgem will be my first big appointment, but I also look forward to the Tour of Flanders and the Amstel Gold races.”
The other bit of news from the release is that Gianni Vermeersch is joining the team for the road and cyclocross in 2019.
Wout Team Watch
The 2018 cyclocross season has been tumultuous for Wout van Aert.
In July, Van Aert signed with Lotto-Jumbo starting in 2020 to race on the road—cyclocross TBD. Soon after, Aqua Blue Sport announced it had taken over Van Aert’s current team Sniper Cycling, only to immediately rescind the announcement. The team merged with Roompot at the end of August, but Van Aert had a falling out with the program during that time.
The weekend before heading to the U.S. for World Cup Waterloo, Van Aert announced he was terminating the rest of his contract with Sniper Cycling. After returning home from the U.S., he signed with the Cibel – Cebon Offroad Team to race cyclocross for the rest of the 2018/19 season.
Questions about where Van Aert will race in 2019 were answered today.
The Lotto-Visma team—the successor to Lotto-Jumbo—announced that Van Aert will be moving to the team beginning on March 1, 2019.
“I think I achieved great results last year and that’s why I had the opportunity to talk with different teams,” Van Aert said in a team press release. “At one point, Team Jumbo-Visma knocked on my door, a team that really appealed to me. Due to circumstances, I will be able to move up the ranks in 2019 already. It feels good that I can step up to the WorldTour because I think I can develop myself a lot at that level.”
Stay tuned for more about the two riders’ respective road seasons when we move from cyclocross to road season.