A saddle sore has become the latest of Tom Boonen's 2013 season woes, and the painful wound may stop him from participating in the Eneco Tour, which begins on August 12.
In July, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider was trying to recover from a disappointing spring Classics campaign at the Tour of Austria, but was forced to abandon with the flu. He recovered, and took a stage victory at the Tour de Wallonie, but since finishing the race he has struggled with the saddle sore and has been unable to train. The injury kept him out of the Tour of Denmark last week.
The issue is the latest in the long list of problems that have plagued Boonen this year: in his off-season, the Belgian was hit first by such a severe case of food poisoning that he ended up in the hospital in December. He was back in the ward again in January with a severely infected wound on his elbow.
A crash at Gent-Wevelgem and then another at the Tour of Flanders knocked Boonen out of Paris-Roubaix. He returned to earn a few top finishes at the Tour of Belgium in May before falling victim to the flu in early July.
The year has been a stark contrast to his 2012 season, in which he became the only rider to win the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix twice in a career, and the only rider to win those two races plus Gent-Wevelgem and the E3 Prijs in the same year.
The team will decide if he can start the Eneco Tour by Tuesday.