By Susan Westemeyer
The pursuit race on the track is generally regarded as an extremely technical discipline for which team must practice for years, in order to get their timing and coordination down pat. But Tom Boonen seems to think that he and three Quick Step team-mates can pick it up in a few weeks in time to ride it in the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.
"We are the most explosive riders in Belgium and Europe," the 2005 World Champion told the Belgian newspaper "Le Derniere Heure". "I am sure that we can pull it off in Beijing." His track team-mates would be Gert Steegmans, Sébastien Rosseler and Wouter Weylandt. Instead of years to work together, they would have about three weeks, because "before August we naturally have other things in mind", like the Tour de France.
Belgian national track racing coach Michel Vaarten didn't reject the idea outright. "When such riders offer themselves, you of course have to listen." Quick Step team manager Wilfried Peeters saw it otherwise. "It all began as an idle idea over the dinner table and all of a sudden it is in the newspaper. On paper it is perhaps a beautiful idea, but it doesn't seem practical to me."