Tom Boonen believes signings of more top riders will give him increased support
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Tom Boonen believes signings of more top riders will give him increased support

by VeloNation Press at 5:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Doesn’t appear threatened by big name additions

Tom BoonenAlthough 2012 will see him share leader status in races with more big name riders, Tom Boonen has welcomed the changes to the Quick Step team for next season. The squad, which will be known as Omega Pharma – Quick Step once the new sponsor splits from the Omega Pharma – Lotto setup and comes on board, will be very difficult to this year’s lighter lineup.

“We have had a first meeting with the new team and it looks good,” Boonen told Sporza this weekend while participating in a charity car race. “Our team has changed forever.”

The lineup next season will be radically different, with big guns such as world time trial champion Tony Martin, Peter Velits, Martin Velits, Bert Grabsch (all HTC Highroad) plus Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) amongst those coming on board.

Boonen had clear status in recent years as the team leader in many races, but has experienced bad luck and injury and not achieved as much as expected. It is possible that he will find his chances muffled somewhat if one of his new team-mates is on the attack in races, but overall he believes that the changes will be positive.

“I will be better surrounded to the final of a competition,” he said. “Is 2012 my last chance? No, I don’t need a last chance. I just want to return to my old level.”

Boonen has had a successful career thus far, with his achievements including six stages plus the points classification in the Tour de France, three editions of Paris-Roubaix, two each of the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and the 2005 world road race championships.

The past two seasons have unquestionably been more sparse, due in part to a knee injury in 2010 and concussion in 2011, but at 30 years of age he has time on his side and should be able to compete at a high level for several years more.

Next season will show how well the team dynamic works with several more chiefs there than before.

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