After an impressive start to his first Tour de France that included an individual stage win, Wout van Aert had his Tour cut short when he crashed into a barrier in the Stage 13 time trial. During the crash, Van Aert suffered a deep gash in his leg.
Van Aert’s initial hospital stay following surgery lasted longer than expected, and since then, he has faced complications from the injury that have kept him in extended rehab.
Van Aert is still using crutches to walk, and the video below from his Jumbo-Visma team shows some glimpses into his rehab process and features an interview with the Belgian star (with English captions).
The extent of the injury and complications with Van Aert’s recovery will obviously affect his coming cyclocross season. In a story by Nieuwsblad.be, Van Aert said he expects his medical rehab to continue before he can start rebuilding his fitness on the bike.
“I have to rest for another three weeks before I can really recover. It is starting to improve, but only then will I feel like a real sportsman again,” Van Aert said (translated).
Van Aert’s timeline suggests he will likely be returning to training around the time the U.S. World Cups get started. From there, his road to recovery gets tougher, and the timing suggests he could miss the entire 2019/20 cyclocross season.
“Normally it takes 10 to 12 weeks for a rider from zero to get back in shape. But because in the case of Wout we still do not know how the injury will evolve, we cannot comment on a time limit.” Jumbo-Visma Sports Director Merijn Zeeman told Nieuwsblad.be (trans.).
According to the article, Van Aert is leaving the possibility of returning around Christmas open, but for now, he has no races scheduled for the 2019/20 cyclocross season and is not discussing start fees with cyclocross organizers.
(The translated story said his “entourage” has “made a cross over his crosswinter for the time being.” Please let all translated puns be intentional.)
Stay tuned for more as we continue to follow Van Aert’s rehab and recovery.
Featured image: Jumbo-Visma video