Tom Boonen’s comeback to continue at the Tour of Belgium
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Tom Boonen’s comeback to continue at the Tour of Belgium

by Ben Atkins at 1:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Belgium
 
2012 winner Tony Martin out to defend his title in five-day race

tom boonenHaving successfully completed the Tour Picardie earlier this month, Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Tom Boonen will continue his comeback at the Tour of Belgium this week. The 32-year-old Belgian champion had elected to ride the three-day French race, instead of the more demanding Tour of California, as he recovers from the injuries sustained in his Ronde van Vlaanderen crash. Having made it through the race, is ready to take on the challenge of his national Tour.

"This year Tour of Belgium will be a hard race, from the beginning until the end," said Omega Pharma-Quick Step directeur sportif Rik Van Slycke. "The first stage has a finish in Knokke, so there is a strong possibility of a windy day. It's difficult to control that kind of race because they are going by the sea, which is why the wind will be so strong and there will be this kind of situation.

“The second day has a finish in Ninove, where they pass through Maldegem, which includes the roads of the Ronde van Vlaanderen,” he continued. “So this will be a day that is also not so easy with that included in the parcours. The third day is a 15km time trial in Beveren, which is also challenging. The fourth stage is in Lacs De L'eau D'Heure - an up and down parcours - so it will be another difficult day. Then, the last stage, they have to pass Côte de La Redoute three times. There is even an uphill finish. So, to finish the stage race with a day like that, it will be a challenging few days without a doubt."

Boonen will not be the only leader of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, since World time trial champion Tony Martin will be out to defend his 2012 victory in the race. The team will also include Netherlands champion Niki Terpstra, British sprinter Andy Fenn, and Driedaagse van West Vlaanderen winner Kristof Vandewalle.

"Fortunately we have a good team ready to fight," Van Slycke continued. "I also have to say that the level of racers who will take the start will be really high this year, for all teams. But we can count on really good riders who are able to be present in the actions every day; in the sprint, or the typical Flanders parcours, but also in the time trial. We have the 2012 Tour of Belgium defending champion in Tony Martin, and the UCI World TT Champion is ready to fight. So, we will try to our best to make a good race and get the best result we can."

Omega Pharma-Quick Step team for the Tour of Belgium
Tom Boonen, Andrew Fenn, Nikolas Maes, Tony Martin, Frantisek Rabon, Niki Terpstra, Kristof Vandewalle, Martin Velits

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