Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is optimistic that he will return to competitive action before the end of this season. The former world champion underwent knee surgery in July, forcing him out of the Tour de France, Vuelta a España and world championships but he has since resumed training.
Speaking to Het Laatste Nieuws at the Eurobike trade show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Boonen was upbeat about his chances of a late-season return ahead that will help him return to top form in time for next year’s spring classics.
“My knee is ok at the moment,” Boonen said. “On Thursday, I rode 120km without feeling any pain, finally a reassuring feeling.” The Belgian had initially hoped to be back in action in time for the Vuelta a España but was forced to revise that schedule when his period of rehabilitation was discovered to be more lengthy.
“I can finally resume a normal training programme now,” a relieved Boonen revealed. His existing knee problems were exacerbated by crashes at the Tour of California in May and the Tour de Suisse in June and he admits that they continue to prey on his mind. “Of course the fear of falling is there, that’s natural, but I’m staying positive,” Boonen said. “I definitely want to return to racing this season.”
It is anticipated that Boonen will line up for the Circuit Franco-Belge, which starts on September 30, before riding Paris-Tours.