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Belgian star Tom Boonen is interviewed before the start.
Worlds participation also in doubt
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) will not ride the Vuelta a España and his participation in this year’s World Championships in Geelong, Australia is also in doubt. The Belgian rider underwent knee surgery on July 15 and returned to training just yesterday.
Boonen had been troubled by knee ligament trouble for much of the season. Crashes at both the Tour of California and Tour de Suisse ultimately ruled him out of the Tour de France and led to the decision to undergo surgery in July.
The triple Paris-Roubaix winner’s first training session since then was a thirty-minute stint on a stationary bike yesterday and he faces a race against time to force his way into the reckoning for the Belgian squad for the World Championships. Boonen previously won the rainbow jersey in Madrid in 2005.
Quick Step team doctor Yvan Van Mol told Het Nieuwsblad that the recovery process could well compromise Boonen’s late season objectives. “The Vuelta looks unlikely and his participation in the Worlds is problematic,” Van Mol said.
Van Mol expects his charge to return to racing after the Vuelta’s conclusion. “Tom can return to competition in the middle of September. The most important thing is that Tom recovers completely and he can race without pain,” he said.
In the meantime, Boonen’s training will be carefully monitored. “The objective is to progressively increase his workload,” Van Mol explained. “Soon he will be able to return to the road, but now it is important to not overdo it.”