Wout van Aert extends contract with Jumbo-Visma
The Belgian star had entered into contract talks with the team as the existing deal with the Dutch WorldTour squad was scheduled to end this year.
Despite rumours suggesting Van Aert could have joined Ineos Grenadiers, the 26-year-old will continue racing for his current team until 2024.
Speaking from the Jumbo winter training camp in Alicante, Spain, Van Aert said: “I really wanted to extend because I have become a lot better with this team. I think everyone has seen that I have made huge steps forward as a rider in recent years. I was always in shape when I needed to. I owe a lot to the team to be able to work towards my goals. The decision that I wanted to re-sign was was made pretty pretty quickly in my mind. Of course there are other things that come into play and that required some time. The intention was good on both sides and I was confident that everything was going to be alright.’
The former cyclocross world champion said: “I don’t have to explain to you that there was more interest in me, but I have never had talks with another team. My goal was to extend the contract. We have become the best team in the world. It was best for me to stay. I am glad that it is done and I am relieved that I can speak out about it.”
Van Aert joined Jumbo-Visma in 2019 after terminating his contract with Veranda’s Willems-Crelan, a move that resulted in a lengthy legal battle.
Since joining a WorldTour team, Van Aert has won three stages of the Tour de France, taken his first Monument Milan-San Remo, and also won the 2020 Strade Bianche.
But as Van Aert’s contract with Jumbo-Visma was due to end at the end of 2021, a number of teams were interested in signing the all-rounder, including Ineos according to reports.
Jumbo-Visma managing director Richard Plugge said: “Wout is one of the big names, one of the big stars of cycling. He is the current number three of the world. For us it was important to keep him. There might have been other teams that were interested in Wout, but his intention was to sign from the beginning. We have helped him in his development and that is why he wants to stay. We quickly understood each other’s desire. Then the details took some time. I am very happy that we were able to keep him.”
Van Aert also proved himself an essential part of Jumbo’s Grand Tour squad, acting as a mountain domestique for Primož Roglič during the 2020 Tour de France, while also winning bunch sprints.
He is now scheduled to start his road season at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic in March, before racing the cobbled Monuments and then focussing on the Tour de France.