By Brecht Decaluwé
If you've won the Tour of Flanders two years in-a-row, combined with a victory in the 'Hell of the North' (Paris-Roubaix), not to mention four straight wins in the 'mini-Tour of Flanders' (E3 Prijs) then you're the one and only favourite for the 2007 Tour of Flanders this Easter Sunday. Cyclingnews' met up with the already legendary Belgian, Tom Boonen, to discuss the prospect of a historic triple.
The Quick.Step team picked up the gauntlet to dominate the Spring Classics, and they're certainly not hiding their ambitions. Quick.Step wants nothing less than victory in what for them seems to be the second most important race of the season after the World Championships. With two-time winners Tom Boonen and Peter Van Petegem alongside world champion Paolo Bettini, the Quick.Step management has several irons to put into the fire, not forgetting the more than capable team-mates on hand before the finale.
If Boonen wins the Tour of Flanders for a third time in three years, he will add his name to other triple winners like Achiel Buysse, Eric Leman, Johan Museeuw and Fiorenzo Magni (the Italian won the race three times in-a-row during the early fifties) but the 26 year-old from Balen, near Antwerp refuses to let history affect him. "I'm not thinking about that three times in-a-row record as I found out it becomes paralysing if you think about it too much," said Boonen.
During last year's Tour de France Boonen failed to live up to the high expectations for the first time, despite wearing the yellow jersey in Belgium. We asked the Belgian if it was possible for him to get nervous on home soil. "Maybe I'll be a little nervous on Sunday," he admitted. "I can't be nervous as from now on our plan just needs to fall together; at crucial points in the race we'll have to make the right decisions. We will ride the finale on Sunday, that's for sure... we just have to."
Read the full interview with Tom Boonen.