Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma QuickStep) has been forced to end his 2013 season due to a longstanding injury, his team confirmed Thursday.
The Belgian has been suffering from a the perineum cyst in recent weeks, and despite some recent improvements the injury has not cleared up as quickly as the rider and his team would have liked.
“It’s terrible news but unfortunately I was expecting it," explained Boonen. "There isn’t much you can do for this type of problem but take the proper time to heal. For a rider it is definitely one of the most delicate injuries. I’m very disappointed; physically I feel fine and after the stage victory at Tour de Wallonie I was looking forward to a good end to the season. However, last week I got on my bike and after one hour the wound opened up again. It’s useless to go on like this. The team staff and I have agreed to give the injury time to heal and then in October I will immediately start preparing for 2014.
“Also in 2011 due to the same problem I anticipated the winter preparation for 2012, which turned out to be one of my best seasons. The objective is to be ready right away in 2014. This period of forced stoppage will inspire me even more. I’m motivated and I really want to make an important mark next season for me and for my OPQS Team.”
Boonen enjoyed a stellar 2012, wining Paris-Roubaix, Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem and E3 Harelbeke. However 2013 has been a complete contrast with injuries, crashes, and even problems with the Belgian tax man dominating his calendar. In July he was hit by flu, and he then skipped the Eneco Tour but his Classics season was written off when he crashed out of the Tour of Flanders.
“It’s clear that in these conditions training just isn’t possible,” explains OPQS doctor Yvan Vanmol.
“Even though the cyst has become smaller, it’s still very painful and the wound is still vulnerable. We want to avoid the risk of an operation which, due to the delicate position and the scar formation, could create problems for the rider in the future. We therefore opted for a more conservative therapy, allowing the necessary time for the cyst to be reabsorbed. Tom already had this problem in 2011. This is why we want to take every precaution in this case and not underestimate the injury. In the next weeks we will carry out more exams to carefully analyse the pressure point on the saddle in order to avoid future relapses.”