Omega Pharma confirms Cavendish to make debut in Tour de San Luis, Boonen delays season start
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Monday, December 31, 2012

Omega Pharma confirms Cavendish to make debut in Tour de San Luis, Boonen delays season start

by Shane Stokes at 3:01 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar
Paris-Roubaix and Flanders winner will start racing in Tour of Qatar

Mark CavendishFormer world champion Mark Cavendish will get his 2013 season underway early, with the Briton set to make his Omega Pharma Quick Step competitive debut on January 20th in Argentina.

First reported by the website Ciclismo Internacional, the news that Cavendish will ride the Tour de San Luis has now been officially confirmed by the Omega Pharma Quick Step team.

Spokesman Alessandro Tegner told VeloNation today that the Manx rider will compete in the South American event in place of Tom Boonen.

“Mark will start in the Tour de San Luis. He is training now in Italy, then he will fly to Calpe on the third of January to join the team,” he said. “He will stay with the other riders and will train there. Everything is going as planned for him, and he will be ready to begin in Argentina.”

Boonen rode the Tour de San Luis last year, beginning his season earlier than usual and clocking up victory on stage seven. He then went on to have his best-ever Classics campaign.

He had planned to once again compete in San Luis but the stomach problems he suffered at the start of December mean that he is slightly behind where he had hoped to be.

“Tom is good, but he lost something like ten days of training,” Tegner said. “So we decided to change his programme and to give him more time to become fit.”

Tom BoonenAs a result he will revert to his traditional season debut. “Last year for Tom was something unique, doing the Tour de San Luis, as he normally always starts in Qatar. He felt that he needed a bit more racing before the Classics. This year we had planned that again, but the problem he had at the beginning of December means it is better for us that we take this decision and delay his start. He will instead begin in Qatar.”

Although Boonen won’t pin a number on as early as he did in 2012, the team is hopeful that he can once again reach the same form as he showed last spring. “To be sure, he is 100 percent recovered, he is training well,” said Tegner. “Our goal is to try bring him to the Classics in the same condition as last year. Of course, that depends on a lot of things, including him staying healthy and avoiding crashes.”

Cavendish has moved to the team after one year with Sky. He will once again work with Brian Holm and riders such as Tony Martin, and should have a more dedicated leadout train in the Tour de France than he did in 2012. If all goes to plan for him, this should translate into more success in the months ahead.

Getting his season underway in Argentina means that he should reach solid form earlier and, hopefully, be in strong condition for Milan-Sanremo.


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