Tom Boonen will step up his comeback to racing at Sunday's Paris-Tours but has issued a strong a warning that repeating his second place from last year and possibly winning could be beyond him.
The Belgian returned to racing last week at Franco-Belge after missing the last three months of racing due to injury. He will use the French classics as a testing ground for his form as he turns his main attention to next season.
"It's been hard to come back after 100 days without racing, so I didn't do the race Binche Tornoi Binche on Tuesday," Boonen told Cyclingnews.
Since competing in Franco-Belge the three-time Paris-Roubaix winner a trained at home. "I took a few days of rest, but I did five hours of training on Wednesday and three yesterday so that I can be in the best condition for Sunday. Last year, I was second but this year it's completely different."
Boonen's season was affected by crashes in the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse. He missed the Tour de France and was forced to have knee surgery in July. Any hopes of recovering for the Worlds in September were dashed by a lengthy rehabilitation, but now that he's back on the bike he's already thinking about turning the page and building his form for the new year.
"It's just another step to build for my 2011 season. Of course I want to ride a good race, but I don't have any ambitions to win. The most important thing is that my knee is good after a week of racing and hard training. I'm really motivated."
While Boonen may be finding his form, Quick Step will still line up with a number of winning options for Paris-Tours with both Sylvain Chavanel and Wouter Weylandt set to start.
Quick Step for Paris-Tours: Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Kurt Hovelijnck, Kevin Hulsmans, Nikolas Maes, Andreas Stauff, Matteo Tosatto, Wouter Weylandt.