Tom Boonen not on top form for Milano-Sanremo, says director Rik Van Slycke
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tom Boonen not on top form for Milano-Sanremo, says director Rik Van Slycke

by Ben Atkins at 8:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo, Tirreno-Adriatico
 
Flu before Tirreno-Adriatico has robbed Belgian of condition but nothing is out of the question

tom boonenA bout of 'flu for Quick Step’s Tom Boonen, just prior to the start of Tirreno-Adriatico, meant that the Belgian entered the race of the two seas decidedly under par. Having stuck with the race though, without really showing himself, he has managed to ride himself back into condition; not good enough to be a real contender in Saturday’s Milano-Sanremo though, according to Quick Step team manager Rik Van Slycke.

"It was a tough Tirreno," Van Slycke told Sporza. "Tom had not reached 100% at the start and now you can not expect him to finish the race at 110%. He has boosted his level, but no top. That’s not possible."

Boonen finished second in Sanremo last year, and third in 2007, but Van Slycke doubts that he can manage to go one better in this year’s race.

"Tom will not start as a top favourite for Milano-Sanremo,” he explained, “but he is looking further than that race. [Paris-]Roubaix and the Flemish classics: they are his target."

While he acknowledges that Boonen is behind where he would normally be, Van Slycke expects the three-time Paris-Roubaix, and two-time Ronde van Vlaanderen, winner to be right there for the cobbled classics.

"Tom knows very well what he's doing,” he said. “It was a good thing that he finished Tirreno. Riders prepare as always in the same way for their top moments."

Despite not expected to be at the top of his form, the unpredictable finish that characterises la Primavera could just play into Boonen’s hands, thinks Van Slycke.

"But anyway, in Sanremo Tom could make it,” he said. “The race is a lottery; anyone who makes it over the Poggio, is a contender. Why shouldn’t we believe?

“Tom was at his top level in Qatar and the ‘openingsweekend’ [Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne – Ed],” he added. “The foundations are laid and it’s just a matter of fine tuning."

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