Wout van Aert will not start the 18th stage of the 2023 Tour de France as he is headed home to be with his wife, Sarah, ahead of the birth of their second child.
“I always thought that I would go home when my wife indicated she needed me,” he said. “That time has come. I told the boys at dinner last night, I’m delighted they have all understood the decision and are 100% behind me.
“These seven guys will perform well for the rest of the Tour, everything will be fine.”
Van Aert has been one of Jonas Vingegaard’s key domestiques throughout this Tour and has been given his own opportunities to hunt stage wins as well. Vingegaard leads the Tour by 7’35” over Tadej Pogačar, making it all but certain that everything will indeed be fine.
Van Aert exits the race without a win, one of his stated goals at the Tour kicked off in Bilbao. “I often had the legs to win a stage but it didn’t happen,” he said. “It gives me mixed feelings, results are one thing, the feelings on the bike are another.”
Van Aert’s next target is the world championships in Glasgow in early August.
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