Video: Sean Kelly assess Boonen’s Classics chances and names Evans as Tour favourite
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Video: Sean Kelly assess Boonen’s Classics chances and names Evans as Tour favourite

by Shane Stokes at 2:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
 
Cycling expert and former world number one believes Australian could repeat

Sean KellyCycling legend Sean Kelly has said that Tom Boonen’s return to form has been impressive, but believes it’s still too soon to be able to say if the Belgian will be in top shape for the Classics.

The Irishman won most of the major Classics during his long career as well as a host of other races, Vuelta a España included. He was very strong tactically while competing, and is regarded as one of the most astute race analysts on TV.

The Eurosport cycling commentator advises caution for anyone making predictions or assumptions on the basis of Boonen’s four victories this year.

“He trained very hard over the winter time and put in a lot of work,” the Irishman told VeloNation in a video interview filmed at last weeks An Post Sean Kelly team launch. “At the moment is he is in really good shape, putting up good performances, but for Boonen the Classics are the first big target of the season.

“I think we have to wait a bit more [to know] – you can’t really take anything from the Tour de San Luis or the Tour of Qatar. Those races are not really a good enough indicator to see what way he is going to perform in the big Classics.”

Kelly believes a better estimate of his form will be gleaned from the semi-Classics coming up this month, with the likes of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad more similar in distance and parcours than Qatar. If the Belgian performs there, then it will be a stronger predictor of what he can do in April.

Boonen has had a sparse couple of seasons as well as a career which didn’t continue the trajectory suggested by his superlative 2005 and 2006 seasons. However he appears to be in better shape this season, winning one stage in the Tour de San Luis plus two stages and the overall classification in the Tour of Qatar.

He’s now heading to the Tour of Oman with his Omega Pharma Lotto team. The squad announced today that Gert Steegmans would be the sprints leader in the lineup, with Boonen likely to back off slightly after racing hard in the first month of his season.

Kelly talks about the effects of the team changes on Boonen’s mentality in the interview, as well as stating that he believes that Cadel Evans could be on course to take Tour de France win number two this July. That belief is based on both the absence of Alberto Contador, and also the parcours of this year’s race plus Evans’ skill against the clock.

Click on the image below to see Kelly’s assessment of both riders.

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