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Wout van Aert takes time trial bike to Scotland for World Championships recon —then rides an OVO bike on Glasgow’s “risky” streets

The Jumbo-Visma star claimed two KOMs in Stirling which will host the World Championship later this year, before trying to stay alive on Glasgow’s streets on a rental bike

Wout van Aert is busy celebrating the coronation in his own way, collecting two local crowns on Strava in Stirlingshire, Scotland where the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships time trials will take place in August, before having a first-hand experience of being a Glaswegian cyclist — yes, on a rental OVO bike.

It seems that the Flemish cyclist is already laying down the marker for his rivals ahead of August's Championships by claiming KOMs near Flanders Moss nature reserve park (as they say, you can take the man out of Flanders, but you can’t take the Flanders out of the man, or something like that…).

One of those crowns came at the seven-kilometre long “Kippen Looper” segment — an eight-year-old course record which Van Aert improved on by a minute and thirteen seconds. Van Aert’s other KOM came on the almost 27km segment called Best Guess West, completing it almost four minutes quicker than the previous best time.

Van Aert, who enjoyed a mixed spring season with Jumbo Visma, seems to not have had enough of the cold and rainy conditions this year. After the Monument near-misses at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, the three-time world cyclocross champion had set off on a series of monster seven-hour stints on the gravel roads and muddy lanes of Belgium and France.


But the bigger news of the day is that Van Aert is now also sporting a moustache, confirmed by his Strava post which was titled: “Showing off the moustache to the highlanders”

> Wout van Aert heads on epic post-classics bikepacking trip and “champagne chase”

The UCI World Championships Twitter account also acknowledged the Belgian’s recon ride Strava post, and wrote: “Hopefully taking in Stirling's rich history along with all those local KOM’s”.

Van Aert was out on his Cervelo P5 time trial bike, also used by Jumbo-Visma’s Tobias Foss on his way to victory in the World Time Trial Championship last year. The disc-brake equipped bike, according to Cervelo, was the fastest bike they had ever tested at the time of its release, 17 per cent faster than its rim braked predecessor.

While we won’t bet on Van Aert’s morning ride to cause him too much trouble, gain of 486 metres and covered by him in one hour and 51 minutes maintaining an average pace of 34.6km/h, we were concerned for him after seeing what he’d been up to in the afternoon today.

> Wout van Aert “almost killed” after receiving “harrowing” punishment pass from horn-blaring lorry driver


His most recent Strava post titled “Risky business” shows him riding the rental OVO bike on the streets of Glasgow. We hope that he survives to tell the tale some day...

And if you’re wondering, he still ended up beating people's personal records and irking a few Glaswegians. One person posted on Twitter that Van Aert took nearly a minute off his personal best in just over 290 metres... "on a NEXTBIKE".

Van Aert has had his share of terrifying moments on the bike recently, when he was “almost killed” after a “harrowing” punishment pass from a horn-blaring lorry driver in Herentals, Netherlands, while he was training with former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer Jan Bakelants.

The Belgian, who’s been training by going on a series of rides in his home country and the bordering Netherlands recently, won’t be back in action until the Tour de Suisse in the middle of June.

After yet another podium at Milan-Sanremo, the 28-year-old looked in imperious form at the cobbled classics, outsprinting his big rivals Mathieu van der Poel and Tadej Pogačar for the win at the E3 Saxo Classic, before (controversially) gifting his Jumbo-Visma colleague Christophe Laporte the victory at Gent-Wevelgem in what was an ominously dominant team display.

However, once again Van Aert fell short at the two races which arguably matter most to him, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

> Mathieu van der Poel wins fastest ever Paris-Roubaix after Wout van Aert puncture drama

At the Ronde, he proved just shy of the staggeringly high level imposed by the rampant Pogačar, while an untimely puncture while clear with Van der Poel at Paris-Roubaix cost him the opportunity to sprint for what would be, astonishingly, only the second monument win of his otherwise brilliant career.

Perhaps with the added advantage of the recon, and the experience of riding out rentals along the Clyde will set up him for another rainbow jersey…

Adwitiya joined in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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