Van Aert, representing the Jumbo-Visma team, has strategically chosen not to overcommit to cyclo-cross to preserve his form for a demanding road schedule. His 2024 targets are the Spring Classics, the Giro d’Italia, the Paris Olympic Games, and the Road World Championships set to take place in Zürich.
The schedule, reported by Het Laatste Nieuws, features races where van Aert previously excelled, including two Exact Cross races in Mol and Loenhout on December 22 and 29, respectively, and the Superprestige event in Diegem on December 28. He is also expected to ride in the World Cup of Antwerp and the X2O Trofee in Baal.
Despite his prominence in the sport, van Aert will not compete in four of the UCI World Cup events in Namur, Gavere, Hulst, and Zonhoven. This decision has sparked debate within the UCI, with President David Lappartient suggesting cyclo-cross riders who miss World Cup races could be barred from the World Championships. The suggestion follows the absence of U23 champion Thibau Nys from the Dendermonde World Cup.
Meanwhile, Mathieu van der Poel, the current cyclo-cross world champion from the Alpecin-Deceuninck team, is set to race in the same events as van Aert in addition to a total of 15 races throughout the season.
The final racing calendar for van Aert will be confirmed shortly, which may introduce additional events. His participation in the World Championship in Tabor remains unconfirmed.
In related news, van Aert is visiting Colombia for the Giro del Rigo, hosted by Rigoberto Urán of EF Education-EasyPost. Urán, a Colombian cycling luminary, has announced his retirement post the 2024 Paris Olympics, drawing a close to his 18-year professional career.