Tom Boonen undergoes surgery on infected elbow
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Tom Boonen undergoes surgery on infected elbow

by Ben Atkins at 12:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Injury
Another setback for Belgian Classics star; hopes for speedy recuperation

tom boonenTom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has suffered another setback in his preparation for the 2013 Spring Classics, as he has been forced to undergo surgery on an infected wound on his left elbow. The Belgian star was mountainbiking in the woods close to his home in northern Belgium on Sunday, January 13th, when he crashed and suffered what looked to be an innocuous injury.

“I fell on my left elbow,” Boonen explained. “I didn't even think about it, it was just a little scrape to the elbow, which I cleaned and disinfected once I got back home. During the week everything was going well, I wasn't having any problems.

“Then suddenly on Saturday, January 19th [four days after the Omega Pharma-Quick Step presentation and 'team championship' - ed] my elbow started swelling,” he continued. “I started to get concerned and so together with the team medical staff I decided to go to the hospital in Herentals. After specific checks and therapy and a prescription of some antibiotics I went home. The following morning I went back to the hospital for a check up. When the doctors saw how swollen my arm was they immediately decided to operate.

“I have to thank the medical staff," Boonen added, "who understood right away that the infection was spreading, and who organised things to solve the problem in no time."

The operation is the second setback to befall the Belgian champion in the current off-season, as he builds towards an attempt to match his extraordinary 2012 campaign. In early December he suffered from an intestinal infection that saw him hospitalised for three days.

With his expected season start coming at the Tour of Qatar on February 3rd, an enforced layoff - albeit a short one - is the last thing he needs.

"That was a really close call for me," said Boonen. "Now, fortunately, the situation is improving. Now I want to recuperate as soon as possible and then next week I'll be thinking again on my training and competitive schedule.

“Of course, this problem couldn't have come at a worse time, what with the upcoming Classics," he added.

2012 saw Boonen equal the record of victories at both the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix - with three and four respectively - and, with a host of other victories became - statistically - the greatest ever Cobbled-Classic rider. If his winter problems don’t affect the 32-year-old too badly, 2013 could see him ride himself into the history books.


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