Tom Boonen leads Tour of Flanders recon - Gallery

Belgian guides Quick-Step Floors over new course

Sunday sees Tom Boonen line up for his final crack at the Tour of Flanders, with the Belgian set to captain the Quick-Step Floors team for the last time in De Ronde.

Boonen, who retires after Paris-Roubaix, has had a mixed spring campaign this season but has found form in recent weeks with eighth in E3 Harelbeke and sixth in Gent-Wevelgem. However, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are the real targets for the 36-year-old. Boonen has won Flanders three times and Paris-Roubaix on four occasions, completing the double in 2005 and 2012.

On Wednesday, while teammate Philippe Gilbert led Quick-Step Floors during stage 2 the Three Days of De Panne, Boonen trained over the modified Tour of Flanders course with a number of riders who will race with him over the next two weekends. The tweaked course sees a new start location in Antwerp, the return of the Muur and multiple ascents of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg.

Last weekend Boonen hinted that his form and legs were better suited to Paris-Roubaix, a race he narrowly finished second in last year. 

"Flanders will become difficult though. I'm no longer the man to go alone up the final ascent of the Paterberg but for Roubaix it'll be alright. I realise that it'll be difficult. With growing older, I've now become less explosive on those climbs. Every year it's become a bit harder. I can follow those men if it matters but the final time up the Paterberg will become difficult, but not impossible. I'll certainly try but I'm not stupid. I realise that my chances in Flanders are smaller than in Paris-Roubaix," Boonen said.

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Tom Boonen's Key Results

1st UCI Road World Championships 2005
1st Paris-Roubaix 2005, 2008-2009, 2012
1st Tour of Flanders 2005-2006, 2012
1st Gent-Wevelgem 2004, 2011-2012
1st E3 Prijs Vlaanderen 2004-2007, 2012
1st Dwars door Vlaanderen 2007
1st Scheldeprijs 2004, 2006
1st Paris–Brussels 2012, 2016
1st Münsterland Giro 2015
1st RideLondon Classic 2016

 

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