Rider Trades Tour de France for Child's Birth

Wout van Aert says he expected to leave race when the time came
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2023 5:45 PM CDT
Belgian Cyclist Heads Home for Birth Before Race Ends
Belgium's Wout Van Aert rides breakaway on Sunday in the 15th stage of the Tour de France.   (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

"I always thought that I would go home when my wife indicated that she needed me," said Wout van Aert, a Belgian cyclist participating in the Tour de France. The family's doctor says Van Aert's wife, Sarah, is about to go into labor, so that time has come, NPR reports. "My place is now at home," Van Aert said in a video announcing he was leaving the competition before Thursday's stage—just days before the race wraps up in Paris. His team, Jumbo-Visma, is in good shape, with defending champion Jonas Vingegaard in the lead.

Van Aert said his teammates understand his decision. "These seven guys will perform well for the rest of the Tour," he said, per Cycling News. "Everything will be fine." Van Aert, who has nine stage wins in his career, made clear that leaving the Tour de France for the birth of the couple's second child was not a tough call. "On the one hand it's a strange feeling, but it's not a dilemma," he said in the video. "It's an easy decision." (More Tour de France stories.)

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