Boonen would welcome Cipollini return

Italian "still has the look of an athlete"

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) has lent his support to a possible return to the pro peloton by Mario Cipollini despite the fact that the 45-year-old is not currently registered for dope testing by the UCI.

"I would say: why not?" Boonen told Het Nieuwsblad. He still has the look of an athlete. "It can work if necessary for the team."

Cipollini has mooted a return telling Gazzetta dello Sport earlier this week that he wishes to return with the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team, which rides his MCipollini frames.

"I want to return to racing to come to the Giro and lead out the sprints for Guardini," said Cipollini, who will turn 45 on March 22. "I feel good, and what is a good sign is that I feel an extreme desire to work hard."

Boonen, whose own form has had a revival in this early season, said that the Italian was his type of sprinter.

"Mario Cipollini was my sprinter," the Belgian said, having joined Cipollini in the elite 100 wins club this week at Paris-Nice. "I raced against him seven years ago in the Tour of Qatar. I won once in a direct duel and also lost once. I admit, racing against Cipollini was something special."


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