After taking four out of five stages at the Tour of Qatar, as well as the overall victory, even Tom Boonen thinks his success is getting out of control. "Maybe this is a bit too much of a good thing," Boonen told Paul de Keyser in an interview with VUM newspapers, "but it's a wonderful way to finish this Tour of Qatar. It's a dream start my season in this way. Without the hiccup [gear malfunction] I would have taken all five stages; and yes, that would have been too much."
The world champion admitted that once the first victory was achieved, he couldn't stop himself or his team from going out for more, especially since the other teams had no choice but take their responsibilities if they wanted a stage victory at all. "It was training for me, hard training," he said after the final stage. "No pressure? Yeh, that's often said beforehand. But when you stand at the start line, things always chance. We came to Qatar to win once; and then things just rolled, without us having to take charge over and over. Milram and Phonak raced hard in this last stage - they had to if they wanted to take one win. We didn't have to do anything until the finale."
With this much success right in the beginning of the season, Boonen knows that he has to keep his focus. "Now it's a matter of not getting ahead of myself," he said. "Not putting on too much pressure: rest enough, train enough. Doing the things I'm good at really: reach my peak and stay relaxed. Of course I'm thinking of Milan-San Remo. By then I have to be another ten percent better. And by the time the Ronde Van Vlaanderen is on, I have to add another ten percent. But first I'm riding the Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne."
But even before all that, there's the Spanish stage race Ruta del Sol, February 12-16, where Boonen will get to test his legs against those of Alessandro Petacchi. "The Ruta del Sol? I'm not sprinting there!" Boonen laughed, but that's what is said beforehand...
Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland