As his two-year suspension comes to a close, cyclocross rider Toon Aerts has set his sights on a truncated winter programme. The 2-year suspension ends on 16th February 2024. With an immediate return to racing, Aerts is targeting three specific races: Sint-Niklaas on 17th February, Brussels on 18th February, and Oostmalle on 25th February. However, the question looms: for which cyclocross team will Aerts ride?
Although Aerts has been training with a Cube bike from Intermarche-Circus-Wanty, it remains uncertain whether he’ll compete for the Belgian outfit. The financial constraints of the team make it difficult to offer Aerts a contract unless an additional sponsor steps in. It’s a situation made more intriguing by the fact that Aerts’ brother, Thijs, is already on the team’s payroll.
Adding to the complexity are the other teams showing interest. Reports indicate that both Deschacht-Hens-Maes and another unnamed cyclocross team have expressed their interest in Aerts. However, negotiations have been sluggish, partly because teams need to secure sponsor approval to sign a rider coming off a suspension. Furthermore, the contract on offer would only cover the three aforementioned races. Aerts, keen to secure his future, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of setting up an interim team himself if an agreement isn’t reached soon.