Van Aert, Evenepoel to lead Belgium men's road cycling team at Paris Olympics

BRUSSELS (AP) — One-day races specialist Wout van Aert and two-time world champion Remco Evenepoel will lead Belgium's men's team in road cycling at the Paris Olympics.

Both riders will compete in the individual trial and in the road race. They will be joined by Tiesj Benoot and Jasper Stuyven in the road race, the Belgian federation said on Tuesday.

Belgian champion Arnaud De Lie was selected as a reserve alongside Jasper Philipsen, Yves Lampaert and Tim Wellens.

The women's squad will be announced next month.

“With Wout and Remco, we can’t beat around the bush," said national coach Sven Vanthourenhout, quoted by local broadcaster RTBF. “They’re our two headliners, the two riders who stand out from this quartet, riders who have won at the highest level. Remco has been world champion, Wout has won classics.”

The men’s Olympic road race is a challenging 273-kilometer (170-mile) trek set for Aug. 3. The time trial is on July 27.

“Races with a distance of 270 kilometers aren’t easy,” Vanthourenhout said. “And then we have two hyper-experienced riders, Tiesj Benoot and Jasper Stuyven. They know exactly what they can do and what they can’t do. They’ve gained a lot of confidence in the national team.”

Before the Paris Olympics, Evenepoel will take part in his first Tour de France as the leader of the Soudal Quick-Step team. Van Aert is also in the Tour in a support role within the Visma-Lease a Bike team of defending champion Jonas Vingegaard.

Evenepoel won the worlds time trial last year and the road race in 2022. He needed surgery this season after breaking a collar bone and shoulder blade in a crash at the Tour of Basque Country.

Van Aert is widely considered one of the world’s best and most versatile riders. The three-time cyclocross world champion is also the winner of nine Tour stages and the points classification. His major race wins include Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche, Gent-Wevelgem and the Amstel Gold Race.


AP Olympics