Bradley Wiggins says he was not surprised after Wout van Aert produced a ride for the ages as he soloed away from his rivals to seal a stunning win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
The Belgian rode away from his rivals on the Bosberg to add Omloop to his burgeoning palmares. Asked whether the performance had surprised him, Wiggins insisted that the Belgian’s early-season brilliance was to be expected.
“That doesn't surprise me at all,” he began.
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“I mean, he was sort of the clear favourite today really with Tom Pidcock. I think both guys have been racing through the winter in the cyclocross season on and off.
“Van Aert today was on another level. I mean, once he attacked on the Bosberg - to ride solo for 13/14 kilometres, and put time into that group behind; he never put a foot wrong today.
"He's really come on, you know, another level from last year."
Asked whether Van Aert could have peaked too early, Wiggins thinks the Belgian champion can maintain his level.
“I think there's a lot of misconceptions where people throw words around, like peaking,” added Wiggins.
“A lot of it's the mental side. And I think he's proved in the past that he can sustain that mental toughness right through the season.
“And [with] the physical aspects, as long as you keep, you know, topping up your endurance and resting at the right time, that never really goes anywhere. But the mental aspect of it is the hard thing to keep on top of - winning after winning - but he's used to that.”
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