Tom Boonen's bad luck is good news for Frederik Willems, who is taking the injured sprinter's place on the Belgian World Championships team. "I am glad to go," the Liquigas rider told Sporza. "It's too bad for Tom, but I am very happy nevertheless to pack my suitcase."
Willems knew that he would be called on if Boonen's injured knee didn't improve, but wasn't sure until this week that he would go to Stuttgart. "I prepared for the World's anyway. I kept myself ready the whole time. I rode longer training rides."
Now that he knows he will ride the road race, September 30, he can train specifically for it. "I do not yet know the Worlds parcours, but I am certainly not the only one," he said. "At home I have detailed graphics of the course. And in Stuttgart itself I can take a look at it. But on such a difficult course, you just have to have a super day."
His favourites for the race? Oscar Freire or Paolo Bettini, but "of course I would like to see a fellow countryman on the podium with the rainbow jersey."