Tom Boonen has been the superstar of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team this season, but he’ll have to share that mantle for 2013. The Belgian champion tells Cycling News HD what he thinks of his new teammate. Boonen also takes a look back at his record-breaking Ronde/Roubaix double double.
The team has signed Mark Cavendish for next season. What do you think about having him as a teammate?
“Having Mark on board is great. He is one of the best riders. I am curious to talk with him and get to know him a bit more. We have different goals, but it would be nice if I could give him a hand. As I said before, I am happy and relaxed. I am in my team, this team is part of my life. I am still hungry but I will do my best to help him become on of us, as soon as possible.”
For you this has been a pretty big year. Is this season one of the best in your career?
“You can’t compare a season with another, because each one is special. In 2005, I did the Ronde-Roubaix double, so you cannot compare this season, but for sure this year was one of my best years ever. This season was good for all of Belgian cycling. We won the World championship in the team time trial. Then Philippe Gilbert won the world championship and that was a big moment and for those reasons it was one of the best.”
Last year was difficult for you, did it spur you on?
“Last year wasn’t easy for me. I had a knee injury, which took a while to heal. At the same time it was not so bad, because I won Gent-Wevelgem and I was close in Ronde Van Vlaanderen and even Paris-Roubaix. I was always there fighting. Sometime little things make the difference and last year I wasn’t at 100%.”
“It’s hard to say if it is better. This time I showed I can win on a different parcours, one that is maybe a little more difficult than the previous one. It has different characteristics. That I won on the classic parcours and then this one makes it special.”
What did you think about the change in route, was it a success?
“I cannot say which one is best, but it was fun and it was good to race there. I think it was a success and maybe we will see more races with circuits in the future. It is important for the public to be safe and they can see the riders several times without running around. So it is less dangerous for them and it is less dangerous for the riders.”
A week later you went on to win a fourth Paris-Roubaix. How did it feel to equal Roger De Vlaeminck's record?
“As an active rider you don’t think about it. You start thinking about it after you stop riding. Then you can look back and say wow I’ve done a great job, I was one of the best, but not now. Records are made to be broken. Maybe in 10 years there will be a rider who can do better. It will be nice to be able to see someone break your record.”
You also became the first rider to complete the Ronde-Roubaix double twice. What did that mean to you?
“That is a big record, because you have to ride it race by race and stay focused. It is really difficult to win both in the same year. You have to be in great shape and a little bit lucky. If you know that you are among the top 10 in races like these you know that sooner or later it will happen. If you are there every year you have more chances to do it."
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