Boonen rides kermis in preparation for the World Championships

Tom Boonen is not too shy to show off now and again. In Viane, close to McEwen's 'home-town' of Geraardsbergen, he was the one to get all the attention. A big star sprinter, racing laps around the church, is not a sight people get to see every day. Cycling fans stood in admiration because the Belgian QuickStep rider descended to their little town to compete in a simple kermis; but here and there, questions were raised. Wasn't he taking a lot of risks with only very few days to go to the World Championships? A bit silly maybe?

"Rather race here than train by myself" Tornado Tom laughed the public's worries away. "I was faced with a dilemma," he told HNB. "It was racing or training. Since I didn't find any candidates to go out for a long haul with me, the choice was made quickly. Today, I'll have 250km in the legs. I trained 40km this morning, raced 170 and will train another 40km after. I call this a fruitful day. It is just a matter of maintaining form right now; but it's hard to do training on your own! I can't motivate myself easily at this time of the year to race up, let's say about ten hills in training. The World Championships day is not too far off now; for that one day, I'll still be able to charge up, sure enough."

Boonen remains calm with only few days to go before his last big race of the season. "Next Thursday I'm flying out to Madrid. I'll still have enough time to scout the parcours. I've heard all sorts of stories about it. We'll see. My point of view remains unchanged: it will be all or nothing that day, a true lottery.

"I feel good. I must admit that after the Tour, I was on the edge now and then, but now I'm sharp again. I'm ready, only just in time. I raced at the front constantly today, even pulled hard a few times; I really emptied myself. I'm pretty groggy right now, but that's OK. Why I didn't keep quiet? That was my idea before the race, but I can never do that in a kermis (laughs). I didn't sprint though. I don't want to take any risks. I haven't been taking any for a while now."

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