Tom Boonen has had to undergo surgery in order to heal his injured left knee, which kept him from racing the Tour de France. The Quick Step leader was operated on Thursday morning in a hospital in Herentals, Belgium, and will now have to rest "three to four weeks" according to his team doctor.
Even though Boonen resumed light training last week, the pain in his knee did not disappear, and surgery seemed to be the last option. "Last Friday, I started training again because there was less pain," said Boonen according to his team.
"On Monday, I tried to ride 100 kilometres, but it was getting worse again. After consulting the medical staff of the team and doctor Claes [who operated him - ed.] we decided to have surgery performed."
With Boonen and his team targeting the World Championships in Australia at the end of this season, the Belgian was starting to get nervous about his recovery, and surgery was the best option. "Until now, we chose the natural way [to heal the injury], but the question is whether the knee will heal in time. Because of the 17 days of inactivity, the muscle mass of his left leg has already started to shrink," said team manager Patrick Lefevere.
Team doctor Yvan Van Mol also said the choice was the right one. "[The surgery] was the only possibility that remained. Now, Tom has to rest three to four weeks before he can start light training again. But it is much too soon now to say at which races he'll be able to compete."
The top sprinter and Classics contender himself was confident in dealing with the new situation. "I have a lot of confidence in the procedure," Boonen said. "It's the first time in my career that I suffer this sort of injury but I'm ready to do my best to come back to the peloton as soon as possible."