Tom Boonen had a disastrous opening weekend in Belgium, but his Quick-Step Floors team has moved quickly to allay concerns about his form before his final tilt at the spring Classics, stating that he has no plans to change his racing programme.
Boonen crashed twice at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad before eventually climbing off, and then missed Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne due to stomach problems. He was still carrying wounds from his two crashes at the Tour of Oman and so faces a difficult week of training before heading to Italy for next week’s Tirreno-Adriatico – his final stage race before the Classics. He will retire from professional peloton after Paris-Roubaix on April 9.
The Quick-Step Floors team confirmed that Boonen would not ride Wednesday’s Le Samyn race in the Wallonia part of Belgium or head to Italy early to ride Strade Bianche on Saturday, in an attempt to make up for missing Kuurne.
"Tom is still not past it. There’s no sense to suddenly now adjust his program for the coming weeks. First, he must completely recover. Only later can we take a decision." Team manager Patrick Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad.
“He definitely won’t ride Le Samyn. Dwars door West-Vlaanderen (on Sunday) is an option but we’ll see later in the week."
The Flemish media is worried that Boonen lacks racing miles in his legs after missing the weekend double header in Belgium. He made his season debut at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina and then raced the Tour of Oman, giving him a total of 14 days of racing.
Directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters dismissed concerns about Boonen’s form. "Tom is getting better, but is not back to his best yet,” he told HLN.be. “We hope he recovers in the next few days. There is absolutely no reason to change his programme. After the Tour of Oman, he had a very good week of training.”
Rain is expected for the second half of the week in Belgium, and so Peeters did not rule out a short training camp, perhaps somewhere with better weather.
"The weather forecasts are far from rosy, that’s not ideal. We’ll see how we will resolve it," he said. “Tirreno-Adriatico is hard enough to build on his form. Afterwards, he will really be ready for the Flemish Classics."
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