Tom Boonen is going into his last race of the season on Tuesday satisfied with his return to racing after major knee surgery. Knee problems kept the Quick Step rider out of racing for over three months, and he is pleased simply to be back racing.
His first race back after surgery in July was the Circuit Franco-Belge. He did not participate in any of the sprint finishes and was in 99th place overall when he abandoned on the last stage.
In Sunday's Paris-Tours he was 136th, finishing more than seven minutes behind winner Oscar Freire of Rabobank. But the former world champion was not upset with that result.
"The result is of secondary importance,” he told the Belgian website Sportwereld. “This was much better than I had expected after Franco-Belge. I can take that into the winter.” Boonen added that realizing that he can ride again after the surgery “is good for my body in looking forward to 2011.”
Boonen did well for much of the race. “'Up to ten kilometres from the finish I was still there. I was even at the head of the pack when Geoffroy Lequatre took off.” But that was it. “The battery was flat. It wasn't surprising after a very long rehabilitation. Races at this level do not lie, even if your name is Tom Boonen. There are no miracles."
"I'm very pleased with my day," he concluded. "At the end my left knee began to pull a little bit. But that seems normal."
His last race of the season will be the Sluitingsprijs Putte-Kapellen in Belgium on Tuesday.