An interview with Tom Boonen, September 25, 2005
Just when you thought 2005 couldn't really get much better for big Belgian Tom Boonen, the man from Balen wins the elite men's road race at the world championships. Cyclingnews' Hernan AlvarezMacias managed to track down this man in demand at his press conference after the race.
It was a brilliant way of finishing an unbelievable year for Boonen, who won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix plus a host of races early in the year and took two stages at this year's Tour de France. At the massive press post-race press conference, the tall Belgian commented, "My dream at the beginning of the season was to win the double - the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Then, the next project was to win the green jersey at the Tour de France but my Tour wasn't too successful; I had my biggest piece of bad luck there. It was hard getting back in shape for the world's but I was very motivated; I was very focused for this one day."
At just 24 years old he's young and already very successful. "With 24 years, realising [about his achievements] is very difficult," said Boonen. "I worked very hard during the season and I certainly had a lot of motivation for the victory today. I'm very strong in the head. If I can go on like that, like I'm doing right now, I'm going to stay very strong and get the same of number of victories I've had already."
He wanted to demonstrate he was really fit. "There were people who said I wasn't good in the Vuelta a España," stated Boonen. "In the end, I showed I am really in good shape." He added "it's not important to win four stages at the Vuelta; it's important to win the world title. I'm very happy to do this."
The tall Belgian talked about the race, saying, "The last lap was very important because the Belgian team was always in front, and in the last lap they did very well to catch up to the leaders. At the last moment, Alejandro [Valverde] started the sprint 300 metres before the line, I kept on his wheel and finally won."
Boonen was asked if he ever doubted his teammate Peter Van Petegem would ride for him. "I never doubted that Van Petegem was going to work for me. I never doubted the very good riders that are in the Belgian team - there was very good understanding from the beginning of the race. We have done some extraordinary work and we got the world title."
Tom was asked if he saw rivals Paolo Bettini and Alessandro Petacchi during the last lap. "I don't know where Bettini was," said Boonen "there were Belgians in front. In the last two laps I didn't see Petacchi anymore. I never raced on Petacchi's wheel and I was focused. I think that was the best thing for me to do because I've seen and I realised in the past that I should focus in my race. It's always better to do your own race, to keep cool, focused and believe in yourself and in the team."