Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) was ruled out of his traditional start to the season, the Tour of Qatar after he underwent surgery for an infected elbow last month. However the Belgian is satisfied with his recovery with a planned return to the peloton in Oman next week.
Boonen tweeted on Wednesday: "1000km one week #1000"
The 32-year-old has spent the past week training in Mallorca with teammates in the lead up to the Tour of Oman which begins on February 11.
"I am quite happy about the training I've been doing," Boonen said on the team website. "I put together something like 1000 kilometers of training in six days, with a day of rest in between. We only had to skip two hours of training due to the rain. For the rest, we always trained with good weather, and that was important."
A small cut on Boonen’s left elbow turned septic forcing the surgery, with the four-time Paris-Roubaix winner indicating that he did not yet have a full range of movement.
"The arm still hurts a bit, because I can't stretch it completely following the surgery," he admitted. "But OK, it just means I can't completely stretch my arm, or completely grab the handlebar in the bottom part. I can't stay in a certain position for a long time, but that's because it's only been two and a half weeks since my surgery. I need more time to recover."
It was the second setback for Boonen who missed a block of pre-season training due to an intestinal infection, which resulted in his hospitalisation for three days at the end of November.
"My condition is improving, even if it is not at the point I am expecting at this time of year," he explained. "I have to deal with it, and do my best to be fit for the next races. Now, we go to Oman where I hope to find good weather there, and be able to do another block of work that is important prior to the Classics."
Boonen said he had been buoyed by the success of new teammate Mark Cavendish who has claimed two wins in as many days - with the team’s tally at three victories for the season already, thanks to the Manx Missile who also took out a stage at the Tour of San Luis last month.
"I can't watch the race live, but in the evening I can read the reports on the OPQS website and I know the guys are doing really well," Boonen said. "I am really proud of it. I also had a short chat with Mark. He is happy everything is going well. I hope the team can continue with their winning mood."
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