Wout van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma kit might be yellow, but the light is green for him to return to cyclocross this Friday at Azencross Loenhout.

Van Aert racing during Kerstperiode is normally not news, but the race will mark his first time pinning on a number since crashing at the Tour de France and suffering a leg injury that took longer than expected to heal.

About a month ago, Van Aert announced his intention to return at Friday’s race, and since then, everything has gone according to plan. On Monday, he received the okay from his doctor to race at Azencross.

Van Aert told why he chose Loenhout for his return (translated):

“Loenhout is just one of the nicest games to resume. Nice and close to home. I have been watching ’cross since childhood, the atmosphere during the end of the year period is always good here.”

The three-time Elite world champion said his expectations for his return to cyclocross are pretty low for this season.

“I don’t expect much from it either. Specific cross-country trainings are not on the program this winter. In November, I did a few more tours and the week before Loenhout, two training sessions are scheduled in the forest. That’s it. Cyclocross is still the best thing there is, and I just want to have fun this winter. I want to use the ’cross to get better. In terms of results, it will probably be a lost year.”

As of last Tuesday, Van Aert is still ranked eighth in the UCI rankings, meaning he will have a first or second-row call-up for Friday’s race, depending on the updated standings and whether Toon Aerts is able to race.

A live stream of the race should be available via Trek Bikes and GCN’s YouTube channel.

Featured image: Bart Hazen