Boonen encouraged about Flanders prospects after De Panne day one
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Boonen encouraged about Flanders prospects after De Panne day one

by VeloNation Press at 5:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders, Injury
 
“There is hope,” Belgian states, speaking about knee injury and his ongoing recovery

Tom BoonenHaving finished in the chase group on yesterday’s opening stage of the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde race, Tom Boonen has said that getting through the race is encouraging after his crash in Gent-Wevelgem, and makes him believe that he can put up a good defence of his Ronde van Vlaanderen title.

Boonen hit the deck on Sunday in the area of the Kemmelberg climb, landing on his knee. It was badly swollen and sore afterwards, but he rode a home trainer yesterday morning to test out the joint, then decided to start the three day race.

He was prominent at times yesterday and finished 19th, just nine seconds behind the winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and the front group.

“I have still a bit pain on the knee,” Boonen said after the stage. “But considering that normally the second day after a crash is always the worst one, It wasn't so bad.”

“It was a tough day,” he added, speaking to Sporza. “My conclusion? That there is hope [for Flanders]. I never let my head drop after Sunday. These are just small setbacks.”

His Omega Pharma Quick Step team-mate Sylvain Chavanel won the race last year and is vying to repeat. He finished fourth yesterday with Niki Terpstra and remains in the hunt. Boonen was pleased with how things played out. “The parcours is not so easy, but I think we did a good race as a team. Also, the two men for the GC were in the front, which is important.”

The race continues today with a flatter 204.2 kilometre race between Oudenaarde and Koksijde. A bunch sprint is predicted, but some riders will doubtlessly seek to shake things up.

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