Boonen ‘has a lot of work to do,’ will miss Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Boonen ‘has a lot of work to do,’ will miss Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

by VeloNation Press at 8:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Belgian rider still believes he can be in strong shape for the Classics

Tom BoonenWhile he pronounces himself as satisfied with how his performance went in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, Tom Boonen has decided to give tomorrow’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne a miss in favour of doing more training.

“I still have a lot of work to do,” he admitted after the end of the semi Classic, referring to his badly disrupted preparation to the season.

Boonen was sidelined twice over the winter due to a stomach problem and then a badly infected elbow, and only began racing in the Tour of Oman.

The former world champion took a solid fifth and seventh place on stages of that race, yet acknowledged that he is some way off where he should be at this time of the year.

Still, he’s not panicking. “I think I did better than I expected. I'm back on track for the Classics. Especially with this really hard weather, these really hard conditions, it went well,” he said.

“After 100km I already felt empty, but with the experience I have, and the experience with the race, I still made it through pretty OK to the final…I made it through the accelerations I needed to do because the group was already gone. I felt OK and like I said, I need some extra work, but it was the first time I really had to go deep for a longer time — one hours or two hours. So, I feel satisfied.”

Boonen finished second last year behind Sep Vanmarcke, who was racing then for Garmin. This time round, Boonen’s team-mate Stijn Vandenbergh filled the runner-up slot, missing out to breakaway companion Luca Paolini in the final sprint.

“Second place is also good, to win is better but with second I am happy,” he said afterwards. “I was in front with Chava on the Eikenberg when he took action. Then, after the Lippenhovestraat, I attacked. It was in my mind I was in a good place because on the Lippenhovestraat I was in the front, and after that we turned to the left I went on the side, and it was a good moment for an attack.”

He said that he felt very good after the Eikenberg climb, realising he was in with a chance of the final victory. However his Italian breakaway companion was equally determined, and had the edge when it came down to the final kilometre.

“Paolini went with 250 meters and he took directly two or three meters. He was simply too fast,” he said. “When I attacked I knew I had Paolini with me, and he is really strong. But after a hard race like today you don't know how he will be in the final. I will sleep good because I am happy with my second place.”

Boonen was pleased to see a rider who is normally a domestique have his chance. “I'm happy for Stijn. I knew that he can do these kind of actions. Unfortunately he was in the breakaway with Paolini who is faster than him, and has a lot of experience,” he said. “In any case, Stijn showed he was ready and on a good track for the next important races.”

Boonen won both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders last year and will try to repeat the win in both events. If he can triumph in Roubaix, he will pick up his fifth career victory and thus became the outright record holder. At present he and Roger de Vlaeminck have four wins each. With time on his side, the 32 year old Boonen looks to have a good chance to pull clear before he finally retires.


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