Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider says decision to skip Tour de France “wasn't easy”
Tom Boonen will start his journey for the 2012 London Olympics at 15:05 CET Saturday afternoon, when he leaves the start ramp for the time trial opening the Tour de Suisse. "This is the first step in my preparation for the Olympics," the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider said.
Boonen, who dominated the Flemish cobblestone classics this year, has chosen not to ride the Tour de France this year. “It wasn't easy to skip the Tour, but the decision has now been made,” he told the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. “The time is past when I could go to the Tour and ride unnoticed. It is better that I not start in a team with GC ambitions.”
The 31-year-old chose to concentrate instead on the Olympics, and said the combination of Tour and Olympics would have been too much. “I'm not saying it is impossible for others but for me in all respects. I always come back bad from the Tour.” That means that he could “do little at the Olympics. "
He has no idea who will be selected to the Olympic team and does not want to be involved in the selection process. He knows only that “The ideal team is the one which gets gold. Look, you can't go with five leaders. I think there must be one or two good helpers, men who go through fire for everyone.” But on the other hand, it might be better if he is not the only option.
But first he must face the Tour de Suisse, which he calls “a perfect race this year. There are a number of stages that must suit me. First a time trial, then the first major climb stage to determine the GC, but then four stages that suit me and finally a hard closing weekend. "