Tom Boonen is no longer the number one Belgian rider, ending his Spring programme with a disappointing Tour of Belgium. The Quick Step rider finished 36th overall, more than 20 minutes behind winner and new Belgian superstar Philippe Gilbert.
Former world champion Boonen is not too concerned, though, blaming his poor performances on a recent altitude training and on an inexperienced team. He considers himself in good shape for the Belgian national title and the Tour de France.
“Of course I would have like to have won,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws, according to Sporza. “I had too many ups and downs. I suspect that is the aftermath of my altitude training.
"Second, I also see a lack of experience in our sprint train. We lack a captain,” Boonen said. “This is no criticism of the boys, Stauff, Van Keirsbulck and Stybar have little experience. "
Boonen was in good place going into the finale of the last stage, a mass sprint, but it came to nothing. “I misjudged the final turn, It gave me no chance to sprint.”
Boonen is off to another altitude training in the French Alps. "With four additional days training at altitude, I hope to strengthen the impact of what I already have. After that the Tour de Suisse is on the programme."
That will be followed by two major races, the Belgian championships “and the Tour of course. I am perfectly on track for the nationals and the Tour.”
He last won the national title in 2009, but has not won a Tour stage since 2007.