After being forced out of the Tour de France due to the effects of a crash in the opening week, Boonen returned to action at the Tour de Pologne this week. The London Surrey Cycle Classic marks an important step in Boonen’s preparation for the world championships in September as well as an opportunity to reconnoitre an Olympic course touted to favour a sprint finish.
Joining Boonen in the five-man Belgian squad are Quick Step teammate Kevin De Weert, Omega Pharma-Lotto duo Jan Bakelants and Jurgen Van De Walle, and Stijn Joseph (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator).
The French line-up was also released on Thursday, and national coach Laurent Jalabert has selected a number of riders who should also figure in his plans for the world championships in Copenhagen.
National champion Syvlain Chavanel is sure to be aggressive on the Olympic circuit, while Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) will carry French hopes should it all come down to a sprint finish.
Youngsters Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) are rewarded for their Tour de France displays with selection, while Yoann Offredo (FDJ), whose promising spring was cut short by a crash at Gent-Wevelgem, is also named in the French squad. Like Chavanal and Feillu, he will be looking to stake a claim for a protected position at the Worlds.
28 teams of five riders will take part in the event:Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cyclepremier-Mataltek, Endura, England, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Morocco, Motorpoint, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Rapha-Condor-Sharp, Russia, Sigma Sport, Slovenia, Team Raleigh, Twenty3c-Orbea, United States of America and Venezuela.
French team for London Surrey Cycle Classic:
Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil), Yoann Offredo (FDJ), Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Tony Gallopin (Cofidis).
Belgian team for London Surrey Cycle Classic:
Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Kevin De Weert (Quick Step), Jurgen Van De Walle (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Stijn Joseph (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator).