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Wout van Aert rolled dwelling fourth in what was his worst-ever end at Strade Bianche on Saturday.

The Belgian ace lacked the top-end kick to make it into the ultimate collection of the race however was in a position to attract some positives from his season debut on the street.

“I’ve to be happy with this,” van Aert mentioned from Siena. “I used to be on the proper place, however I simply wasn’t ok within the remaining. That gear was not there but.”

Van Aert went into the race as defending champion and red-hot favourite alongside Mathieu van der Poel for the win. When the duo went clear as a part of a stellar group of seven, it seemed like the 2 cross-discipline stars may take the race to the wire.

Nevertheless, the Jumbo-Visma star was distanced by a transfer from Julian Alaphilippe on the ultimate gravel sector with 12km to go and seemed in issue. Quickly after he had caught again to the group, he was considered one of a quartet of riders that was blown out of rivalry by the primary of two of van der Poel’s monumental race-winning accelerations.

“I used to be the very first to have a tough time in that main group, however in the long run I nonetheless end fourth,” van Aert mentioned. “So the content material is there, however the sharpness is lacking. On the lengthy gravel sections I used to be good and I may make a distinction. However on the steep sections, I fell a bit quick. The highest finish has but to recuperate.”

Van Aert had chosen to skip the opening weekend of the classics final week in favor of coaching at altitude on Tenerife. In the meantime, all the opposite main contenders for Strade Bianche had chosen to race into health, with van der Poel placing in a bullish efficiency at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne final weekend.

It may have been the shortage of race conditioning that value van Aert at Strade Bianche.

Talking earlier this week, Jumbo-Visma coach Marc Lamberts had mentioned that the Belgian was nonetheless a half-watt away from peak competitors type, and it confirmed Saturday, with van Aert unable to match the strongest accelerations from his rivals.

“That my coach Marc Lamberts predicted this? That’s proper. Marc is a great particular person, hey,” van Aert joked after the race.

Although van Aert misplaced out Saturday, recording his worst end in 4 appearances, he took confidence for the season to return after his Jumbo-Visma teammates had managed the opening 120km of the day.

“We rode a implausible race as a group,” van Aert mentioned. “A lot of guys have even gone additional than initially deliberate. That could be a very nice commentary. If I can get slightly higher now, we may have a pleasant traditional season. ”

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