Tom Boonen (Quick Step) believes that he was correct to ride Tirreno-Adriatico even though he was suffering with the flu. The Belgian came down with the illness on the eve of the race and did not contest any of the bunch sprints at the final warm-up for Milan-San Remo, his first objective of the season.
“It was not ideal but I never considered it a problem,” Boonen told Het Nieuwsblad. “Not starting? Well, physically I didn’t really need the race. My condition in Qatar was already in order.
“But if I hadn’t ridden here, then everybody would be asking questions. And then you’d have to do some serious catch-up kilometres in training. No, I think it was the right decision, especially now that I’ve survived. And considering my condition was very good so early, it’s not bad that I just rode with the brake on.”
Although Boonen is no longer suffering from the symptoms of his illness, he admitted that the intensity of the racing in Italy meant that it was impossible to recover completely. He will now rest up ahead of the weekend as he sets his sights on finally capturing Milan-San Remo, where he has twice finished on the podium.
“It’s really time to take it easy for a day or two to allow my body to recover now that I’m over the illness,” Boonen explained. “I’m glad I survived with all the miles in the legs, so that my preparation for the Classics was not endangered.”
The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are, as ever, the centrepiece of Boonen’s spring campaign, but the Belgian is determined to be in the mix at Milan-San Remo.
“On Saturday I’ll do the same as the others,” he said. “I’ll try to win.”