Wout van Aert (born 15 September 1994) is a Belgian professional road and cyclo-cross racer, who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Team Jumbo–Visma. He won the men's elite race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He joined Team Jumbo–Visma in March 2019, on a three-year deal after terminating his contract with Vérandas Willems–Crelan in 2018.
Van Aert was born in Herentals, Flanders, and started his career in cyclo-cross where he became World champion (2016, 2017, 2018) and Belgian champion (2016, 2017, 2018).
He rode the 2018 Strade Bianche, held partly on gravel roads in torrential rain. He broke away with Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and the pair lead the race for much of the final 40 kilometres (25 miles) before Tiesj Benoot (Lotto–Soudal) attacked from a chasing group to catch and then drop them in the final sector of dirt roads. Benoot soloed to victory by 39 seconds ahead of Bardet, who dropped van Aert in the final kilometre; van Aert ultimately completed the podium a further 19 seconds in arrears, despite having to remount his bicycle after falling on the final climb in Siena.
Van Aert rode with the Vérandas Willems–Crelan team during road races in 2018. Over the year, he expressed dissatisfaction with the news that the team was set to merge with Roompot–Nederlandse Loterij for 2019. Having already signed a contract to ride with Team Jumbo–Visma from 2020 onwards, he terminated his contract with Vérandas Willems–Crelan in September 2018. Were he to join another team for 2019, Sniper Cycling – the owners of the Vérandas Willems–Crelan team – were said to be demanding €500,000 in compensation. LottoNL–Jumbo were reported to be interested in signing van Aert a year earlier than originally agreed, and confirmation of the transfer was announced in December 2018, with van Aert joining the team from 1 March 2019.
In June 2019, van Aert won two stages and the green jersey in the Critérium du Dauphiné, became national time trial champion, and won the bronze medal in the road race at the national championship. In July 2019, he was named in the startlist for the Tour de France. On 15 July, van Aert won Stage 10 from Saint-Flour to Albi, in a sprint finish ahead of Elia Viviani and Caleb Ewan. On 19 July, he had a crash during the individual time trial stage in Pau, and was forced to abandon the race due to his injuries. It was not known at the time whether he would recover for the cyclocross season or even the classics at the start of the 2020 road cycling season.
Van Aert later told newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that the crash was so severe that it could have ended his career, worsened by a mistake during his surgery, when doctors did not properly work on one of his tendons. In November 2019, van Aert won the Flandrien of the Year award.
On 1 August 2020, Van Aert won the first rescheduled 2020 UCI World Tour race to be held following the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 Strade Bianche after attacking solo with around 13 kilometers remaining. The following week, Van Aert won the rescheduled 2020 Milan–San Remo after outsprinting French rider Julian Alaphilippe, the defending champion, of Deceuninck–Quick-Step, in a two-up sprint, after the duo had broken away from the peloton on the descent of the Poggio.
Grand Tour general classification results timeline