Boonen reflects

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) sits pretty

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) sits pretty (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

After the initial emotions subsided after the finish of Milan-San Remo, eighth placed Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) re-examined his race and where it went wrong. Boonen was one of the few sprinters who used the truncated Paris-Nice as preparation for M-SR. Nevertheless, he appeared to have plenty of strength to get over the climbs on Saturday and not waste too much energy in the lead up to the sprint. He even managed to find the most sought after wheel, that of Alessandro Petacchi's, but just seemed to jump halfheartedly then hesitate when Petacchi put in his own move at 200m to go. That was fatal for the Belgian, because he lost the wheel and was swarmed by other sprinters.

Boonen explained the last part of the race to Het Nieuwsblad: "I went through the last hairpin bend well, Bettini swung off the front perfectly to the left, so that Petacchi came into the lead. At that moment, perhaps I should have gone full out. Alessandro waited a bit, Freire as well. That fraction of a second of doubt cost me because at the moment that he [Petacchi] jumped, three or four men came up to my right. Then when the road narrowed I was closed in by Wrolich, who had done his work, and bumped [Philippe] Gilbert, who came from the right and closed the door a couple of times. At that moment I was sprinting for no more than second. I just find it disappointing that I couldn't measure myself against Petacchi. It's frustrating, at best."

On the other hand, Boonen rated it as "my best Primavera. There's a day and night difference between the other two times. I finally know Milan-San Remo...But this remains a fat shit race. Suddenly there are the capi, you're at the bottom on Via Roma and then wham, bam a chaotic sprint. That after a super-long and dangerous route with cars left and right, spectators jumping out taking photos, motorbikes in the middle of the riders on the descents, nervous colleagues, rolling garbage bins. All obstacles.

Finally, Boonen rated himself "10 percent stronger" than this time last year, and believes that he can win La Primavera one day.

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