Tom Boonen will once again host the charity cyclo-cross race "Boonen & Friends" at the Zilvermeer in Mol, Belgium this Saturday. The event benefits "Move to Improve", a charity for children with movement disorders. Joining the Quick Step sprinter will be former cyclo-cross world champion Lars Boom who will be given a one-minute handicap to the star-studded field of road professionals.
Boom will be up against a field of 48 riders which includes, among others, former winners Maarten Wynants and Pieter Vanspeybrouck as well as current professionals André Greipel, Jelle Vanendert, Giovanni Visconti, Carlos Barredo, Björn Leukemans, Marco Bandiera and Christian Knees.
In the race for retired pros, another former world champion, Erwin Vervecken, will try to defend his title of last year against the likes of Johan Museeuw, Davide Bramati, Eric Vanderaerden, Jo Planckaert and Marc Wauters.
The race is sure to provide even Boom and Vervecken with challenges on a course which Boonen called one of the hardest yet. "Even for a cyclo-crosser the circuit is technically challenging."
Boonen is looking forward to racing for the first time since he crashed out of the Vuelta a España with a broken wrist. ""My wrist is almost healed. I only suffer when I have to ride a long descent."
After a series of community races, the ex-professionals will take to the start at 2pm, with Boonen and friends going off at 3:15.