Boonen named Flandrien of the year, Wiggins gets international award
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Boonen named Flandrien of the year, Wiggins gets international award

by Shane Stokes at 3:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Briton confirms winning Giro d’Italia is a career target

Tom BoonenAfter three years of domination by Philippe Gilbert in the competition, Tom Boonen has this year been named the Flandrien of the year. The Het Nieuwsblad-organised competition is run to determine the Belgian rider of the season, and Boonen has come out on top for 2012.

The Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders winner has beaten Gilbert, who took two stages in the Vuelta a España plus the world road race title. The latter finished second in the voting, with Thomas de Gendt third, world cyclo-cross champion Niels Albert fourth and Jurgen Van Den Broeck fifth.

Boonen last won the title in 2004 and 2005. This year saw some extraordinary successes, with the Belgian taking those two Classic victories, as well as stages in the Tour de San Luis, Paris-Nice, the World Ports Classic and the Tour of Qatar, overall successes in the later two, as well as hitting the line first in the E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Brussels and the national road race championships.

He and his Omega Pharma Quick Step team also triumphed in the world team time trial championships.

Meanwhile Britain’s Bradley Wiggins has been given the International Flandrien award. The accolade came at the end of a season which saw him take stages plus overall victories in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France, as well as the Olympic time trial.

“This is excellent for British cycling,” he said, according to Het Nieuwsblad. “I deserve it too…I’ve won a lot this year.

“I am very happy that cycling in England now taken seriously. Previously it was only football, soccer and football. Now our sport climbs the ladder and that is fantastic. This is not only due to me but also to Cavendish.”

Wiggins chose against attending the official presentation as he said that his life is so busy during the season that he tries to limit his commitments when possible. “I live for months in a madhouse…my life has changed so drastically that I must control it.”

British Cycling coach Shane Sutton recently suggested that Wiggins should target the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España next season rather than the Tour, saying that the rider needed new targets. He also argued that winning all three Grand Tours would make him a real legend of the sport.

Asked by Het Nieuwsblad what his plans were for 2013, Wiggins didn’t rule out chasing the Italian tour.

“What I have achieved is difficult to match,” he said. “I have worked for so long and then it becomes difficult to do even better. I hope that winter brings me ideas. I'd like to win the Giro. Maybe by next year, who knows?”


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