Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert visit Copenhagen Worlds course
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert visit Copenhagen Worlds course

by Ben Atkins at 3:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, World Championships
“The easiest course since Zolder in 2002,” declares Belgian coach Carlo Bomans

philippe gilbertWith the Spring Classics over, Belgian one-day kings Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) paid their planned visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, with national coach Carlo Bomans to check out the course of this year’s World Championships. Having seen the course first hand, Bomans concurs with prevailing opinion, declaring the course as one for the sprinters.

“It’s the easiest course since Zolder in 2002,” he said, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.

In 2002 the Worlds were held on a circuit based on the Zolder motor racing circuit in Limburg, eastern Flanders. The race was roundly declared one of the most boring in history as the flat parcours allowed the Italian team to control the race for virtually the entire distance. It was the team’s first race under the directorship of Franco Ballerini and the newly disciplined Italians delivered ‘Re Leone’ Mario Cipollini to victory in the bunch sprint.

Usually the Worlds is held on a hilly circuit, with a traditional classics rider generally taking the title; Copenhagen looks to be another one to suit the sprinters though, thinks Bomans.

"Four laps of thirteen or fourteen kilometres, which is not yet clear," said Bomans. "When I counted I made it thirteen, but the organisers say there is one kilometre more; but that does not alter the nature of the course. Other than a climb at the beginning of each lap, it won’t amount to much.

“But it is naturally important to see how the weather will be the end of September in Denmark. It can reportedly be windy and rainy."

Other than the possibility of the Danish autumn playing its part, Bomans predicts a similar outcome to the 2002 race; even though we will all be hoping that the race itself is more interesting.

"Basically you should think that this year straight to a mass sprint start, as in Zolder with Mario Cipollini as the winner,” he said. “The weather there could, however, decide otherwise.

“We have plenty of time to find out what team we should put together but, most importantly, our two flag-bearers can have an idea themselves of what awaits them.”

tom boonenBoonen himself is certainly pleased that he made the trip; although the 2005 World champion has not had the spring he would have wanted, a Worlds course like this could give him the chance to more than make up for his disappointment at Paris-Roubaix.

“It was definitely a good idea to fly here," said Boonen. ”I really liked the circuit. The most surprising thing is the speed of the lap we'll be repeating 17 times. The roads are in good condition and I think it'll be a fast race.

“The finish is slightly uphill, at 5-6%. It's a beautiful finish after 266 kilometres of racing that will distinguish the strongest riders from the pack; after the finish everyone's going to be very tired.”

While Gilbert has made the biggest headlines this spring, the course suits the sprinting skills of Boonen far better, he thinks.

“A sprint finish seems the most obvious choice,” he said. “Personally I think the route is well adapted to my skills; I'm very satisfied with today's work."

Having ridden the course today, the Belgians will decide this evening whether to have a second look tomorrow.


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