Cyclocross World Champ Wout van Aert has recently confirmed his intentions to focus on a road racing career. Although he announced last December his plans to cut this coming season’s cyclocross schedule short by twelve races, the Belgian has reiterated to Sporza his goal of stopping his cyclocross season after the 2018 Cyclocross World Championships in Valkenburg to focus on getting ready for the classics.

Wout van Aert readies for his CXM Interview: Post 2017 Worlds, Niels, Albert, Green Tires, Felt Bike

Wout van Aert readies for his CXM Interview: Post 2017 Worlds, Niels, Albert, Green Tires, Felt Bike

Speculation of Van Aert’s possible switch in focus already started when the Crelan-Vastgoedservice cyclocross team merged with Veranda’s Willems road team. Now an exact plan is forming, with the hope that his team might secure a spot at the bigger classics. Van Aert has been eyeing Paris Roubaix in particular, saying that the cobbled classic “perhaps suits me best.”

The Belgian Van Aert may be hoping to follow the pedal strokes of three-time Cyclocross World Champ Zdenek Stybar, who has had success at Paris Roubaix. The two spoke while training in Mallorca, when Stybar wished the World Champ luck and offered some advice.

Wout van Aert has already proven to have finishing and prologue speed, but aims to further test his potential on the road. photo: Van Aert wins the sprint or second of Tom Meeusen. 2017 Krawatencross, Lille. © M. Hilger / Cyclocross Magazine

Wout van Aert has already proven to have finishing and prologue speed, but aims to further test his potential on the road. photo: Van Aert wins the sprint or second of Tom Meeusen. 2017 Krawatencross, Lille. © M. Hilger / Cyclocross Magazine

Van Aert is certainly not the first cyclocross champion in recent years to switch priorities. Dutch star Lars Boom and Zdenek Stybar, half of the dominant four male cyclocross racers earlier this decade (the others being Albert and Nys), famously made the leap to focus on pounding pavement. Even domestically, perpetual Cyclocross National Champions Coryn Rivera and Logan Owen have prioritized road careers over cyclocross after dominating the junior ranks in ’cross.

Former Cyclocross World Champ Lars Boom still races a few cyclocross races, but his road career has been his priority for many years. 2016 Heusden-Zolder Cyclocross World Cup. Elite Men. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Former Cyclocross World Champ Lars Boom still races a few cyclocross races, but his road career has been his priority for many years. 2016 Heusden-Zolder Cyclocross World Cup. Elite Men. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Van Aert still plans to race the U.S. World Cups and defend his rainbow jersey this coming season, and maintains next year’s road season will be a test and isn’t yet a full commitment to making the switch. “I’d like to first try and experience the classics. Then I can later decide to make the switch to the road,” he said (translated).

Fans have been warned, however. Enjoy and savor this season’s beautiful duels with rival Mathieu van der Poel, before one of them surrenders to the pulls of the pavement peloton.

World Champion and World Cup overall winner Wout van Aert returns to defend his title at CrossVegas. photo: CrossVegas 2015. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Will this season be Van Aert’s last cyclocross trip to the States? photo: Celebrating victory at the CrossVegas World Cup in 2015. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine