Boonen motivated to try for green jersey in the Tour de France
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Boonen motivated to try for green jersey in the Tour de France

by Conal Andrews at 11:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France

Last summer, Tom Boonen appeared ready to give up on any thoughts of winning another Tour de France green jersey. He had zero form in the 2009 edition of the race, with a best stage placing of only sixteenth, and Mark Cavendish’s domination must also have been very demoralising.

The Belgian briefly talked about reinventing himself as a time trial rider, yet this year he is clearly back to his top form and riding well. Second in three Classics plus wins on stages of the Tour of Qatar, Tour of Oman and Tirreno-Adriatico show that he appears to have put his cocaine issues behind him and is once again focussing fully on the bike.

Now, nine months after that disappointing Tour, Boonen feels up to the task of chasing the Maillot Vert once more. "I will start rested and I am motivated to run after the green jersey for three weeks. Last year I was already knackered before the start,” he told Sporza.

In addition to that, Cavendish has been struggling with his own form and it is far from certain if he will be back to his best by the Tour.

Boonen’s preparation for July will begin with the Tour of California, after which he will ride either the Dauphiné Libéré or the Tour de Suisse. His final race pre-Tour will be the Belgian championships, where he will attempt to defend his jersey.

Right now, he is building back up again after taking a break after Paris-Roubaix. Some might expect him to be very disappointed after failing to win a Classic, but he is able to be philosophical about things.

"Set me a year back in time with the [same] form, and I’d have won the three classics. I was not so lucky with the opposition this year. All went well, [but] in Sanremo I encountered Freire, who once again could smash everyone. And then there was Cancellara. Perhaps they will never have as good a spring again.”

Boonen will now have to wait until the Autumn for the chance to try to win a Classic. He could have continued on one week longer and done the Amstel Gold race, but it’s likely the amount of climbing there plus the uphill finish of the Cauberg would not have suited his talents. In addition, he argues that it would have been took long to have kept his condition.

“It would have been very difficult. I've been at one hundred percentsince Sanremo. A period of top form only lasts four weeks. It is very difficult, and everyone would instantly have expected something from me.”

When it was put to him that fellow Belgian Philippe Gilbert was also riding very well since Milan-San Remo, he pointed out that the Omega Pharma Lotto rider were strong, but not at his peak for the early Classics. “He reached the first peak condition in the Amstel, but I was already 100% in Flanders,” he said. “So that is different altogether.”


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