Tom Boonen ruled out of Tour of Qatar after elbow surgery
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tom Boonen ruled out of Tour of Qatar after elbow surgery

by Ben Atkins at 2:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Qatar, Injury
Belgian champion to go home tomorrow but not soon enough for defence of desert race

tom boonenTom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has been ruled out of defending his title at the Tour of Qatar as he recovers from Monday’s elbow surgery. The Belgian champion went under the knife at the Herentals Clinic, near Antwerp, after a seemingly innocuous cut on his left elbow - sustained in a mountainbike crash on January 13th - became infected. This was the second setback to Boonen’s preparation for the new season, following a serious intestinal infection in December that saw him hospitalised for three days.

The 32-year-old posted a picture on his Twitter feed today, showing his bandaged elbow in his hospital room, accompanied by the caption “taking my time… #winning.”

Boonen will leave hospital tomorrow, after undergoing a medical test, but will be required to take three days of complete rest, before taking a short ride on Sunday, January 27th. This means that he will not be ready to ride at the Tour of Qatar, which begins the following Sunday, February 3rd.

“I'm happy the situation now is improving even if I am still weak," Boonen said. "To have news released I can go home is good because it was a difficult moment for me and my family.

“Unfortunately I won't be in Tour of Qatar, one of my favourite races, as I decided with the team that it is too early,” he explained. “I feel sorry for Eddy Merckx and the race organisation there. Everybody knows how much I like this race, but I really can't make it. First, I need to recover 100 percent physically and then start training again to see how things go.”

Boonen has virtually made the desert race his own in recent years, having won overall on four occasions and taken a total of twenty stages. His victory in last year’s edition - where he also added two further stages to his collection - was one of the catalysts for his unprecedented 2012 Classics campaign, where he won his fifth E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, his third Ronde van Vlaanderen, his third Gent-Wevelgem, and his fourth Paris-Roubaix.

Missing out on his usual start to the season, Boonen will have to think again as to how he is to start his spring campaign.

“I will look into the best schedule to prepare for the Classics at the end of next week, and then I will decide with the team which will be the best approach," he said.


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