Belgian coach to visit Copenhagen Worlds course with Boonen and Gilbert
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Belgian coach to visit Copenhagen Worlds course with Boonen and Gilbert

by Ben Atkins at 10:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
Both team captains very motivated for September’s race

tom boonenBelgian national coach Carlo Bomans is planning a visit to take a look at the World Championships road course in Copenhagen, Denmark later in the month. While he has had a good chance to examine the course remotely, he wants to see it first hand; he will be taking his two top riders, Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert, with him.

“Nick Nuyens has already visited Denmark,” said Bomans of the Ronde van Vlaanderen winner, who rides for the Danish Saxo Bank-SunGard team, to La Derniere Heure, “it will however the first time for me even though I already know almost all of the route through the video.

"But it is a kind of tradition,” he explained, “to which we could not follow the last year because the destination of the World Championships [Melbourne, Australia – ed] was too far away.

“I will be accompanied by my two leaders, Philippe Gilbert and Tom Boonen; both are very motivated for this World Championships; we leave on the Tuesday following Liège-Bastogne-Liège."

With the races’ proximity to one another, many riders now use the Vuelta a España as a training race for the World Championships. Gilbert did so last season and was one of the biggest animators of the Melbourne race, while winner Thor Hushovd had also ridden the Vuelta, although he dropped out in the last week.

This is something that Bomans approves of, especially given the extended gap between the races this season.

"Unlike last year, there will be 15 days between the Grand Tour and the World Championships,” he said, “which gives everybody time to recover. The Vuelta is, in my opinion, an obligation to the national teams to be on form for this event."

In the past there have been races finishing on he same finishing straight that will be used in September; while these shouldn’t be ignored, Bomans is not relying on them for his race predictions due to the relative size of the races involved.

philippe gilbert"I know the stages of the Tour of Denmark finishing at this location have resulted in sprint finishes,” he said, “but they were races of limited distance. The Worlds is 260km, do not forget that! The finish line is located on a hill and at the end of this distance, this rise may some do damage. It is therefore important to go there to appreciate the difficulty of the circuit firsthand."

So far this season the Belgians have been performing well, with Boonen winning Gent-Wevelgem, Gilbert taking the Montepaschi Strade Bianche and yesterday’s Brabantse Pijl; on top of this Nuyens has taken the Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, with Johan Van Summeren winning last Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.

"Ah! If I had to make my choice now I think I would have a serious problem to select my nine riders,” laughed Bomans, “but the World Championships are held in late September and at that time, there are far fewer potential candidates for the national team. Often, even immediately after the Tour de France, we have the first withdrawals. Not to mention the illnesses and injuries that can still unfortunately do some damage.”

Last year, Bomans was robbed of the services of Boonen, thanks to a season-ending knee injury he sustained in May’s Tour of California. He will be seriously hoping that none of his key riders suffers a similar fate between now and the end of the season.


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