Wout van Aert: “Like a nightmare”
April 9 th 2023 - 17:42
It is a shame I’ve had such bad luck. I felt so good that I could attack in the Carrefour de l’Arbre… and then I punctured. It sucks because we [Mathieu Van der Poel and I] had a possibility to make it to the Vélodrome together, and I would have stood a chance for victory on a two-up sprint. But that’s life. When I punctured, it felt like a nightmare. I couldn’t believe it was true, but my tire was completely flat. I’ve tried to keep my head cool, reset my mind back into race mode and try to regain Mathieu’s wheel, but it is impossible to shut down a 20-second gap with a guy like him up front. Yet it didn’t make sense to give up.
You never know how a race could have turned out had things happened differently. I don’t like to speculate on who was the strongest today. Mathieu [Van der Poel] put me on the limit with his attacks, but he didn’t surprise me this time because I was really focused on following his wheel. When I had the flat tire, I was attacking myself and feeling really strong. Even on a flat tire I came out of the Carrefour de l’Arbre on his wheel, so I could have done something in the final, that’s for sure.