• Wout van Aert of Team Jumbo-Visma will feature in the Paris-Roubaix (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Wout van Aert hopes his Paris-Roubaix performance can do away with the criticism he received following the UCI Road World Championships, particularly from teammate Remco Evenepoel.
SBS Cycling Central

3 Oct - 12:21 PM 

After being named team leader on home soil, van Aert struggled during his portion of the road race, with Belgium ultimately finishing outside the podium places.

Evenepoel had been tasked with a domestique role for the event, however, during a recent appearance on the Sporza program Extra Time Koers, the 21-year-old admitted he could have been better suited to win the world title.

Such remarks have since left a bad taste in van Aert’s mouth, with the Jumbo-Visma star taking issue with his compatriot’s apparent change of heart.

Van Aert says he's 'only human' as Belgium miss out on medal at World Championships
Wout van Aert admitted he wasn’t up to his best for Belgium in the men’s road race overnight as Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe secured back-to-back titles at the UCI Road World Championships.

“I expected that there would be criticism because we didn’t win,” van Aert told the media ahead of a punishing Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

“But I think it’s not wise to add fuel to the fire from someone within the team.

“I think Remco said a lot more during Extra Time Koers than he said in the team meeting.

“I think he was the one who agreed with the tactics, who agreed with the selection. He has been preaching for weeks about how he was looking forward to it.

“So, I think it’s really weird to turn 180 degrees now. I don’t think it’s wise to throw oil on the fire afterwards.”

Van Aert will now look to use Evenepoel’s comments as motivation in ‘The Hell of the North’, where the recent wet weather could yet work in his cyclo-cross favour.

The Paris-Roubaix course will stretch 257.7 kilometres with 30 cobbled sections set to challenge riders one last time before the season’s end, and van Aert knows simply surviving is the first step towards the trophy.

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“I think this is especially the race where you don’t need to think in perfect scenarios because it will always turn out differently and there’s so much that can happen,” he told Cyclingnews.

“It’s really a race from sector to sector, trying to survive – especially in the beginning – and then later on in the final, if you’re there you can think about the right tactics.

“Also, in the sprint, we’ve seen so many examples here that faster guys on paper get beaten by the strongest guy in the race very often so it’s a tricky final.”

The Paris-Roubaix continues on Sunday night with the men’s race LIVE via SBS On Demand at 8:00pm (AEDT) and over on SBS VICELAND from 9:00pm.