By Shane Stokes
Tom Boonen won four stages in the Tour of Qatar but has yet to figure in the sprints at the Challenge Volta a Mallorca. Cyclingnews spoke to the 2005 world road race champion prior to the stage two start in Cala Millor and the Belgian said that he was planning on taking things relatively easy this week.
"I am feeling pretty good but I am not here to take any risks," he said. "I wasn't planning on doing the race at first, but it is over two weeks between Qatar and Ruta [Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol], so I came here to do some training rides. I wasn't planning on doing the stage yesterday but I did it and did one hour afterwards. Today I will do the same and then maybe again on Wednesday. For the rest of the time, it will just be training. I'm going straight away to Ruta after this."
This time last year Boonen was winning left, right and centre in the white jersey of world champion. It's a little strange to see him back in the blue of QuickStep-Innergetic yet despite the change, he says that life is not hugely different. "Things are not that much quieter this year, it is always the same. I guess it was perhaps a little bit easier in the winter because I didn't have to do so many special occasions and I was not always the centre of attention. But either way, the preparation is always hard when you're preparing for the big Classics. It is never easy."
"As regards the Classics, I want to want to do well in all of them. The three weeks from Milan-San Remo are the most important of the season for me. I will try to win one of them and if so, then my season is already good."
Boonen has yet to win the Italian Classic opener and says that it is on his list of targets. "Milan-San Remo is not the most beautiful classic of all; for me, the Tour of Flanders or Roubaix are more difficult and more satisfying. But that is what makes it [Milan San Remo] so hard to win, because there are a lot of contenders. We will see how it goes."