Tom Boonen is looking at retiring sometime in the near future, he has told the Belgian press. Not this year or next year, and "probably" not the next year, but it won’t be much longer.
In an interview with Belgian De Zondag newspaper, he denied Etixx-QuickStep team manager Patrick Lefevere's earlier statement that he would have retired this year if he had won one of the Spring Classics.
"No, surely not. That would be perhaps a dream scenario, yes. But I am much too happy," said Boonen. "And I feel very well. If you quit, you can’t go back. You need to be perfectly clear. This year I first thought about my retirement. I will definitely ride one more year. And probably the spring after. But many more will not last much longer."
Boonen also discussed how he was able to get away from the cocaine use which occurred in 2008 and 2009. He tested positive for the drug in out-of-competition controls three times in those years. He moved on “by believing in myself,” he said. "I kept doing what I loved to do: cycling. That was my way out."
The 34-year-old became a father for the first time this year, with his partner delivering twin daughters. He missed the Spring Classics after suffering a dislocated shoulder in a crash during Paris-Nice, which kept him out for two months.
After returning from his injury, Boonen rode the Tour of Turkey and the Giro d’Italia without results, abandoning the latter to take on his homeland Tour of Belgium. There he brought in his first win of the year, and he followed up by winning Rund um Köln. He later added a win at the Eneco Tour and will be an option for Etixx-QuickStep at Sunday's Vattenfall Cycleassics, along with Mark Cavendish.