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Boonen may ride in Tour de San Luis

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) before the start.

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) before the start. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

Tom Boonen may change his season preparations next year, skipping the Tour of Qatar and instead riding the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. Boonen has opened his season in Qatar since 2004.

“The Tour de San Luis is indeed an option,” Omega Pharma-Quick Step team leader Wilfried Peeters told Sporza. “But there is still no decision.  We must look again quietly with the riders and sponsors.”

The other option would be the Tour Down Under (January 15-22), while the Tour de San Luis runs from January 23 to 29. The Tour of Qatar does not start until February 5, and Boonen is said to want to start his season earlier in 2012. He has not raced this year since breaking his wrist in the Vuelta a Espana in early September.

Boonen, 31, has won the Tour of Qatar overall title three times, and has won 17 individual stages of the event. He won the first stage of this year's Tour of Qatar as one of only two wins on the season.

It has already been announced that Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liguigas) are expected to start in San Luis. Five WorldTour teams will ride in Argentina:  Saxo Bank-SunGard, Liquigas, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Movistar and AG2R-La Mondiale.