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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) couldn't hide his delight at winning on home roads.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider looks to win World Ports Classic
Tom Boonen's victory in the first stage of the World Ports Classic was “good for the morale” and as preparation for the World Championships later this month. It was “a good feeling” for the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider to beat such riders Andre Griepel (Lotto Belisol) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
It was Boonen's first win since the Belgian national championships in June. He lit up the early part of the season, winning the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, all within a two-week period.
"This is good for morale for the real preparation for the World Championships, which begins after this weekend," he told Het Nieuwsblad.
Boonen will look to defend his leader's jersey in today's second and final stage, and thinks he has good chances to do so. “I am happy with my form, especially considering the results and how I worked all day. I felt in the Tour of Denmark that it was right, but then lacked the result. I recovered well and it does not look bad. Sunday I will ride in Leuven (the GP Jef Scherens, ed.) And then starts the specific preparation for Valkenburg. This victory is good for morale. I'm on schedule. "
He could have gone to the Vuelta a Espana to prepare for the Worlds, but decided against it. "This preparation is indeed not easy, but I have raced too much to go on to Spain. It would have been too much.
He did one have one small concern, though. “The last time I went to the Worlds without the Vuelta, I regretted it. I hope it is different now.” That last time was in 2006 in Salzburg, when he finished only ninth in the road race and thus failed to defend the Worlds title he had won the previous year in Madrid.