Boonen to replicate 2012 Classics buildup next season, bidding for record Roubaix win
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Boonen to replicate 2012 Classics buildup next season, bidding for record Roubaix win

by VeloNation Press at 7:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Doping, Paris-Roubaix
Belgian rider unimpressed by more relaxed whereabouts requirements for other sports

Tom BoonenTom Boonen will follow the old adage about not changing a winning formula, with the Belgian saying that he will follow the same building up to the Classics in 2013 as he followed this season.

The Omega Pharma Quick Step rider had a brilliant start to the year, clocking up a number of important wins. He took a stage in the Tour de San Luis, two stages plus the overall victory in the Tour of Qatar, then picked up stage two in Paris-Nice.

He showed strong single-day form in winning the E3 Prijs, Gent – Wevelgem, the Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, taking a rare double in the northern Classics.

It was an unexpected return to form for the Belgian, who previously achieved the Flanders-Roubaix in 2005, won one of the two Classics in 2006, 2008 and 2009, but who had quieter 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Some had felt he was past his best, but the addition of a number of strong riders to the Omega Pharma Quick Step team last winter appeared to relieve the pressure on him. With the weight of expectations off his shoulders, that helped bring about a run of stronger performances.

Boonen has a big goal for next season; winning his fifth Paris-Roubaix, which will surpass the record he now shares with Roger De Vlaeminck. In order to try to replicate his 2012 form, he has told Het Niuewsblad that he is aiming to follow the same buildup as he did twelve months earlier; he’ll get his season underway in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, then likely ride Qatar, Oman and Paris-Nice.

Boonen ended his season on September 23rd, calling it quits after helping Philippe Gilbert to victory in the world road race championships. He took a holiday in Mauritius and has been training hard since November 1st, either on the road or cross bike, and also with off-bike work.

His intention is to be in his best possible shape again for the Classics, and to net that fifth Roubaix win.

Belgian unhappy with variable whereabouts rules:

A new anti-doping legislation which began on November 14th has been criticised for some, and Boonen adds his own voice to the dissent. It divides athletes into various categories and treats some sports more severely than others.

Cyclists, biathletes, skiers and some athletes must continue to designate a time and location each day where they can be tested; three whereabouts violations in an eighteen month period will lead to disciplinary action and a likely long suspension.

However others such as tennis players and footballers have more relaxed regulations, meaning that despite the fact that there is far less testing already in such sports, that they have been deemed ‘safer.’ If they have two missed tests in a twelve month period, they are subject to the same requirements as the first group, in terms of needing to designate an hour a day where they will be.

However their ‘counter’ resets to zero, so they will not incur penalties unless they have three whereabouts violations after that initial warning. It means that in all, they must have a total of five whereabouts issues in a two and a half period before they are penalised.

Boonen is not impressed by inspectors making such distinctions between sports. “I find it pretty outrageous,” he said. “I was sick when I read it. I could not believe it first.

“I think that the system should be the same for everyone. Professional sport is professional sport.”


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