An early race crash prevented Belgian champion Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) from defending his Tour of Flanders title.
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Flanders crash sees defending champion miss favourite races
Crashing out of the race he has won three times in the past (2005, 2006 and 2012) should have been enough punishment for Tom Boonen who was unable to defend his title at Tour of Flanders but the reality of missing his 'pet' race Paris-Roubaix this weekend is a little too much to handle. It's for this reason that Tommeke will not be watching the coverage when the peloton rolls out for what will inevitably be a very different race with the absence of the four-time Roubaix winner.
"It was bad enough already having to watch the final of Tour of Flanders on television," said Boonen to La Dernière Heure.
"So I think I will not watch Paris-Roubaix. It's too painful," said the current Belgian champion who fell just 19km into the de Ronde.
Boonen enjoyed arguably his best season to date in 2012 when he took a near clean sweep of the cobbled classics. The 32-year-old won E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix but his latest crash is yet another setback for the Omega Pharma - Quick-Step rider who has been without much luck this season.
Illness, crashes and infection have underlined Boonen's season thus far and having to effectively sit out both Flanders and Roubaix will no doubt put a serious dampener on the rest of his season.
"Sunday's Ronde and Paris-Roubaix are the two most enjoyable days of the year and my season depends on a few of these races," said Boonen. "Unfortunately you're not immunized against a fall like I had on Sunday. I ran up against a sign and was immediately stopped."
It is yet to be determined when Boonen will next pin on a number but it is likely that he will take rest after an already difficult sprint campaign before building up for his later season objectives.
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