Tom Boonen has been selected to the Belgian World Championship team, national coach Carlo Bomans announced Monday. The sprinter, who is still suffering from injuries sustained in a crash at the Vuelta a España, will decide later in the week whether he will ride in Stuttgart. If he decides against racing, his place will be taken by Frederik Willems of Liquigas.
"Tom is already getting better," Bomans told Sportwereld. "On Wednesday he has a long training ride planned, so we'll see after that. For Boonen there is no deadline. If necessary we will replace him 24 hours before the start of the World Championships.
"Obviously Tom can do something on the hilly parcours in Stuttgart, otherwise I would not have selected him," continued Bomans. "Perhaps he could work for the other riders? There is no problem with his condition, only his knee. The team supported him tremendously at the World Championships in Madrid, so perhaps it is the ideal moment for Tom to give something back.
"We have no Freire, Bettini or Di Luca in our team, thus we do not have to make the race. That role is for the Italians, the Spaniards or the Germans. This parcours is the most demanding I have seen in my career as a national coach, it really does not lend itself to a bunch sprint."
Bomans wants each rider on the Belgian team to ride the course before an official race plan is hatched. So far only Philippe Gilbert has ridden the circuit, reportedly comparing it with that of the Amstel Gold Race.
The Belgian team will be made up of: Mario Aerts (Predictor - Lotto), Björn Leukemans (Predictor - Lotto), Greg Van Avermaet (Predictor - Lotto), Johan Vansummeren (Predictor - Lotto), Stijn Devolder (Discovery), Jurgen Van Goolen (Discovery), Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux), Maxime Monfort (Cofidis), and Tom Boonen (Quick.Step).