Boonen "concentrated, not nervous"
By Hedwig Kröner in Roubaix
Winning an incredible triple this spring season with E3 Prijs Harelbeke, Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) is currently revealing his real talents as a true Flandrian puncher. Last season, the cycling world hailed the 24 year-old as the next big sprinter alongside Alessandro Petacchi, but the Belgian has proven that his talent is much more versatile after the first part of this season. In a post-race press conference after the "Hell of the North", a rather satisfied Boonen explained the decisive moments of the race from his point of view.
"I think it was best for me to get rid of Michaelsen and Bäckstedt," he said. "The race is perfectly controllable with two guys, but with four guys attacking you it's hard. I knew I had to do everything I could at Carrefour de l'Arbre, and it was perfect: Flecha did the first effort, Michaelsen got dropped, afterwards Bäckstedt was 15 metres behind. My director sportif told me 'Bäckstedt is at 20 metres' and that's when I went à bloc. I knew if I got rid of him, Flecha and Hincapie would ride for sure. These guys were working for the podium all day. But I was a little bit afraid, I wasn't feeling so super anymore. I just kept up the pace at 45, 47 km/h for everybody to feel tired. Nobody wanted to attack, and in the finale I was super concentrated and I did a good sprint I think."
With this memorable victory achieved, Boonen will now take some time off to be able to concentrate on the next goals of his racing calendar. "I'm going on holidays now," he replied when asked where he would find the motivation for the rest of the season after achieving the rare Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix double. "That's how I'll find the motivation back for the Tour. But it's not only that [meaning the double] - I won Harelbeke, I won Flanders and Roubaix and those are the three races I wanted to win most. But I'm confident for the rest of the season, I have one objective left, or two: The Green jersey at the Tour and then maybe the World Championships."