Boonen readies for third Ronde van Vlaanderen title
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Boonen readies for third Ronde van Vlaanderen title

by Bjorn Haake at 5:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Tom Boonen had a satisfying race weekend and is going full steam ahead with his final preparation for the Ronde van Vlaanderen on April 4, which he would like to win for the third time in his career. Although Boonen dropped out on Sunday from Gent-Wevelgem, he did finish second in the E3 Prijs Harelbeke on Saturday, behind Fabian Cancellara and ahead of Juan Antonio Flecha.

Boonen was not terribly disappointed that he missed his fifth E3 Prijs, having won the race from 2004 to 2007 consecutively. "Of course I would like to win myself, but the difference is sometimes just a small detail," he told De Standaard. "I felt alright, although I am not at 100 percent yet - but I hope I will be on Sunday."

Boonen called the E3 Prijs his course, and even reckoned a new roundabout that was added, to no avail. "It was silly how Cancellara was able to ride away there. I tried to cut the corner to close the gap." But Boonen had to correct his line and Cancellara was gone. "I was 15 meters back, sprinted for 500 meters and came to within 10 meters." It is not easy trying to catch up to time trial maniac Cancellara, especially when you are shadowed. "I did not want to close the gap for Flecha. The three best riders sat on the front Saturday and there was very little difference between us."

Good Quick Step Team work

Boonen was quite happy that the team reacted positively to his announcement in the team meeting before the race. "Everybody was good, I am satisfied. They did exactly what I had asked. I was perfectly placed on the Taaienberg and the Paterberg." The one problem that could materialize for Boonen on Sunday is teammate Stijn Devolder, who has won the last two editions of the Ronde van Vlaanderen and will get his chance again, depending on the race development.

Boonen has not written off others, either. "[Filippo] Pozzato was not there at the Paterberg, but I count him to be among the great four for next week." Boonen made sure Pozzato was unable to come back. "I rode the Knokteberg as hard as I could, as I preferred that the Italian Champion was not with us. Then he cracked, having to ride by himself against three. I had two motors with me," referring to the company of Cancellara and Flecha at this point in the race.

After his efforts to drop Pozzato, Boonen needed a break himself. "I was at my limit and Fabian didn't stop to pedal, so I couldn't take a pull. I told him 'Give me two minutes' and I drank a bit and ate an energy bar." The race gave Boonen confidence for the Ronde. "I am more than ready for the war next week."

Boonen made no secret about his favorite part of the race, where he has always lit it up in the past. "If I am not hindered by breakaways which are dropping back then I think I can possibly set a new record time on the Taaienberg."

Even the abandoning in Gent Wevelgem after 127 kilometers cannot deter Boonen from his ultimate goal of getting a third Ronde. "Now I am hoping for the supercompensation effect - the healing recuperation after two days of racing. So I won't be doing the Driedaagse De Panne; instead, I will check out the Ronde parcours again this week."


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