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Boonen calls time on season

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Tom Boonen (Quick Step)

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Belgium's Tom Boonen ready to roll on the road where he won a stage of the Tour of Britain.

Belgium's Tom Boonen ready to roll on the road where he won a stage of the Tour of Britain. (Image credit: Gerry McManus)

Tom Boonen (Quickstep) has decided that he will finish his season early, admitting that the injuries he sustained at the Vuelta a Espana have gotten the better of him. The Quickstep rider had been hoping to ride the World Championships, but after consulting with national selector Carlo Bomans on the weekend, they both agreed it would be best for Boonen skip the race in favour of recovery.

The Belgian was forced to abandon the Vuelta after breaking his Scaphoid, a small bone in the wrist on stage 15. The most recent examinations, conducted yesterday in Herentals have also revealed a further fracture, which had been hidden by swelling. Boonen will have to wear a cast for at least the next two weeks, completely ruling out of any chance he had to ride in Copenhagen.

"I'm really upset," said Boonen. "I really wanted to participate in this World title. The route was perfect for me and the preparation program I was working on would have taken me to the championship event in top form.

"Unfortunately, rather than diminishing, the pain in my hand is increasing day by day and I simply cannot race in this condition. I relinquish my place on the squad to an athlete who can be of use to our national team. I wish the Belgian team a championship rich in success in Copenhagen.

"As for me, I need to recover the function in my left hand 100 per cent and then lay out a program for the 2012 season with my team, hoping to have a luckier season than the one I'm having now."

Boonen, the 2005 world champion, had been one of the Belgian team's designated leaders, and his powerful sprint will be something the team will miss in his absence.