It starts this winter cycling flash New chapter: Friday the Thirteenth. Every Friday at 1.13pm you can read an interview with a cross or cyclocross racer who has finished 13th the weekend before. This ranges from little girls to elite men, from C2-cross to the World Cup. what’s the story This week it was number 13 at the Sven Nice Grand Prix in Baal among the elite men: Theges Aerts.
You can safely call it that Aerts managed to perform it in Baal, because the rider from Rijkevorsel had had an eventful week. Not only did he trade the Baloise-Trek Lions to Intermarché-Circus-Wanty’s cyclo-cross team on New Year’s Day, his brother Ton also came into the spotlight when he announced at a press conference that the UCI had offered him a two-year suspension. has sent.
“It’s not easy to change teams and equipment from one day to the next,” Aerts says. Wout van Aert only changed the shifting systems, and even that took some getting used to. But for me it was the bike as well as the transmission system, wheels, etc. Everything you can imagine suddenly knew a different brand, only my shoes were the same. Least you can His saying is that it took a while getting used to hubby. By the way, also in terms of entourage: I still saw my old teammates back then. It took me a while to realize I was wearing a different jacket. So I’ve been in the same area for ten years.”
Especially during the first half of the race, there were still some mistakes in his occasional technique. “Cutting the corner, jumping on and off the bike, carrying the bike: everything has a different vibe on such a new bike. The bike tubes are made a slightly different size, which makes your hand come out differently. Towards the end of the cross it goes better, but something like this It takes time. You can try to emulate that in training, but you won’t have the same focus as in racing.”
All in all, Aertes could live with his 13th place. “In addition to getting used to my new material, I actually had a puncture on the first lap. I had to come back from a distance, 13th is not a bad result for someone of my caliber. Especially when you consider that the whole season is not easy on a mental level. You know, it wasn’t. This is the best time in my family.”
difficult family situation
By this, Aertes indicates the uncertainty that has hung over his brother Ton’s head for a long time. The UCI waited a long time to communicate about the consequences of a positive doping urination, which affected Aerts and his entire entourage. “I can easily admit that I’ve struggled with her in recent weeks, and that’s led to more of my mixed games. You should know: I still live with my parents, so you definitely carry that situation with you. Although I’m glad Ton finally managed.” Who told his story. And that gives us more peace of mind.”
Ton told the CROSS podcast earlier this week that he’s been bombarded with questions about his situation all over the place, while he wasn’t allowed to say anything for legal reasons and because he wasn’t sure yet about certain things. Known to Brother Theges. “When Ton was on the cross himself, he got a lot of questions about his situation. But Ton wasn’t often on the cross, and then all these people came to me for a story. I understand that these people care about us. But it’s no fun when you With the same explanation every time. And it doesn’t stop at the cross, does it? You meet people in the shop, even my colleagues sometimes dare to inquire. That’s why it’s so good that people now know how we stand.”
“I immediately noticed that the questions were greatly reduced. Now people can also ask how I’m doing in reality. It’s not unimportant, in my opinion. It shouldn’t always be about my brother at that moment. Of course I want to talk about it and I’m anxious.” I’m very hard about it myself, but I also have to be able to do my own thing and stay focused.
Arts and his brother have always been regular training partners. That too has changed in recent months. And this means: in my opinion, little has changed in this area. When I was at home, I often went out with Toon. Just… I also bumped into my long time mates on the Baloise Belgium Tour, Tour of Wallonia, Tour of Namur and Flèche du Sud. Not to mention team training. During those periods Ton told me it was a huge adjustment for him to be on his own a lot. For myself, I sometimes felt like I let him down, when he couldn’t help me and did my job. It was also a difficult time.”
“Ton can be more of a mentor to me than ever. He’s someone who knows a lot more about training than I do. I’ve never been so busy with numbers, show me. And since he didn’t race and had more time, he also checked my training. He looked at me.” What I did that day, how the competitions went, what the heartbeat was like, what wattage I was riding. That was great for him. He really managed to learn a lot from that and I think he’ll also train riders at a later age. Then it’s something It’s great that he was able to learn in this, not only could he see his training sessions, but he could also follow his training sessions.”
Back on jockey Thijs Aerts. He wants to get the most out of him in the final weeks of this season, with his new team. “I will end up in an environment where I will be looked at a lot. Quentin Hermans and Korneh van Kessel have left, leaving me and Kevin Kuhn as just professionals. In and of itself I have no problem with that, because I suspect that later this year we will slowly see a better Thijs Aerts back. Then we strive for more consistent performance next season.”
For this, Rijkevorselnaar relies on the professional guidance of his new team. “I wasn’t actually planning on leaving the Baloise-Trek Lions, but after the first meeting with Bart Wellens and Aike Visbeek, a whole new world opened up for me and Toon. I wasn’t used to the kind of things they do inside this team. In terms of aerodynamics, so We were not far behind in our previous team. That makes it interesting to work extra on small details and make more progress with this new wind.”
Because there is more to Aerts than what is currently coming out. In the youth period, he was crowned world champion among juniors, and became a Belgian champion among promises. Then you have something up your sleeve. “Sure, but there has always been something wrong in recent years. At first I broke my finger, and I suffered the consequences for a long time. The next year I had toxoplasmosis and now it’s the same with Ton. As next year approaches, I don’t want to think about anything and avoid Bad luck. A few years ago I was involved in the World Cup selection every week and almost got selected for the World Cup. I have to strive for that.”