World champion Tom Boonen has worn the leader's jersey for four days during the first week in the Tour de France. He has thus accomplished what so many can only dream of at the young age of 25. Still, the congenial cycling god from Balen (Belgium) couldn't hide his disappointment after making what he called a "juvenile" mistake in yesterday's final sprint. But as Sabine Sunderland writes, it's because he is only human.
Is it true that Boonen has 'lost it', as he claimed himself right after the stage, or is it a temporary low he's going through?
On the plane to Bordeaux the boyish, cheeky smile was on Boonen's face again. He was filmed while teasing teammate Bram Tankink and waved to the camera as if to comfort those who were worrying after his depressed remarks earlier in the day. This while sprint rival McEwen was taking advantage of the transfer to get some much deserved sleep.
Boonen is known to be somewhat hyperactive and in interviews he has admitted that he's not one to sit still in his couch, feet up, after training. Boonen needs movement and action around him he says, but the hype surrounding him during the first week might have proven a tad too much of a good thing for the World Champion.
For the first time in his career, Tom Boonen might be forced to make a choice which he might not like: be less demanding on himself. His ambitions and goals have seemingly been easy to achieve so far. Boonen won Ronde Van Vlaanderen twice, won Paris-Roubaix and almost playfully took the rainbow jersey last season. He also has won four stages in the Tour de France in previous editions, and has worn the yellow jersey for four consecutive days in this year's Grand Boucle. What more can you ask of yourself?