Tom Boonen: “I’m still really motivated for Paris-Roubaix”
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tom Boonen: “I’m still really motivated for Paris-Roubaix”

by Ben Atkins at 5:02 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders
Three-time Ronde van Vlaanderen winner presents young fan with a bag of souvenirs

tom boonenAt a press conference in a hotel in Antwerp, Belgium this afternoon, Ronde van Vlaanderen winner presented a bag of Omega Pharma-Quick Step goodies to an 11-year-old fan named Tjorven; TV pictures of whom, celebrating Boonen’s third victory in Vlaanderens Mooiste, were deemed the most emotional seen.

“It was an emotional moment when I saw this guy celebrating my victory,” Boonen said of the image he was shown of Tjorven on Sunday after his win. “We had a quick chat together and the boy was really happy about it, as was I.”

In the Omega Pharma-Quick Step musette bag were, among other things, a wristband and t-shirt bearing the team’s new Twitter/Facebook slogan “I ‘like’ #OPQS”. Tjorven, for his part, also came bearing gifts, presenting his hero with one of his own racing team’s jerseys, a small cycling action figure and a St Christopher’s medallion.

“I put it in my pocket and told him I will keep it with me for the future,” said Boonen of the medallion.

Immediately after his victory, Boonen spoke of not yet having come to terms with his achievement. He joins a highly select list of riders with three Ronde victories to his name, and is now only one of two riders - along with Johan Museeuw - to have also taken three victories in Paris-Roubaix.

With the hectic schedule of the Spring Classics, it seems that this is still the case.

“On Sunday evening it was a normal evening at home,” he said. “I arrived at home, drank a good glass of wine with my family and that was all. I went to bed immediately. I was really tired. On Monday, I didn't really have a lot of time to enjoy my victory. It's unbelievable. In cycling you have to turn the page immediately, and next weekend is Paris-Roubaix.

“I basically tried to recover as well as possible at that point. I slept a lot. I did two hours on the bike yesterday, and two hours today. But for the rest of the time, I will still try to enjoy life at home.”

The records keep tumbling in Boonen’s best season for years

tom boonenBoonen’s 2012 season so far has been his best for many years - if not his best ever. As well as his third Ronde, the 31-year-old has also joined the list of riders with three Gent-Wevelgem victories, and became the outright record holder at the E3 Prijs with five wins.

The next record on the horizon is that of Roger De Vlaeminck’s four victories in Paris-Roubaix, which, with his form this season so far, is not something that many are betting against.

“We are here already talking about Paris-Roubaix, but I have to say for me it was really important to win Ronde van Vlaanderen, as it was the first time on the new parcours,” Boonen said. “For me, it's really a privilege. I am really happy to have won and to have shown I am able to win a different race.”

With all of his victories though, even joining the likes of Museeuw and Eric Leman on three Ronde’s, his third victory does not compare to his first; where his excitement was such that he committed the cardinal sin of forgetting to zip up his jersey to show off his sponsor’s name.

“I am super happy for me and the team,” said Boonen. “But when I compare this happiness with the happiness for the victory I had the first time, it isn't the same. That was really a great moment and that feeling is something that has never come back.”

The next race on the horizon is the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday, April 4th, where, although he is a two time winner, he will not be aiming for a record-equalling third victory.

“The race of tomorrow is an important race, and I am happy to be at the start,” he said. “Tomorrow I will try to work for other guys on the team. Francesco Chicchi, for example, can have his chance tomorrow in the race.

“For the rest of the week, starting tomorrow evening, I will start thinking about Paris-Roubaix,” he explained. “This year seems to be the year of the record, but Paris-Roubaix is really a difficult race, so anything can happen. We will see. There are a lot of competitors, [Filippo] Pozzato and [Alessandro] Ballan [who finished second and third behind Boonen on Sunday]. They showed they are in good condition.

“I am still really motivated,” Boonen said. “Mentally I have no problem. I want to ride a good race on Sunday. I work a lot to be competitive at this period of the season so I really want to try to do my best even on Sunday and fight for the victory. I don't know if I will make the recon or not on Friday.

“The parcours is still the same and I have pretty good experience with it. It will depend a little on my recovery and maybe I will take a little more rest to spend a little bit more time at home in the next days.”


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