Boonen on course for late season return

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has returned to training on the road and is aiming to make his comeback to racing at the end of September, according to Quick Step team doctor Yvan Van Mol. The Belgian underwent knee surgery on July 15 after knee ligament trouble prevented him from riding the Tour de France.

“He can now train daily and is doing rides in Monaco of two hours without pain or irritation,” Van Mol told Gazet van Antwerpen. “I had him on the phone on Tuesday and he sounded happy.” Boonen first returned to training in early August with a thirty-minute session on a stationary bike and has made steady progress since.

Boonen will miss both the Vuelta a España and the World Championships, but Van Mol anticipates that the former rainbow jersey wearer will be back in action before the end of the season. “We hope he’ll be able to ride the Circuit Franco-Belge (which starts on September 30) and Paris-Tour. If he can get back sooner, that would be a complete bonus,” said Van Mol.

It has been a difficult 2010 campaign for Boonen. He has suffered throughout the year from knee trouble and was powerless to stop Fabian Cancellara’s domination of the cobbled classics in April. His problems were compounded by crashes at the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse.

Meanwhile, Quick Step has looked to strengthen their line-up for next season. The team was heavily linked to Riccardo Riccò before he went to Vacansoleil, and has already confirmed the signings of Marc de Maar and Francesco Chicchi for 2011. Double Tour de France stage winner Sylvain Chavanel has also re-signed with Patrick Lefevere’s outfit for next year.

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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.