Vanmarcke: I’m ready to take another step

Over the years, it’s become something of an informal tradition. On the final Saturday of February, Tom Boonen has almost invariably heralded the end of the long, Belgian winter by lining out the peloton on the climb of the Taaienberg during Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Regardless of the result – and it’s the one big cobbled race he has never won, after all – Boonen’s cameo sends his legions of fans home content, satisfied that their man will be fit for purpose by the Tour of Flanders five weeks later.

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.