Boonen struggling with intestinal problems

Tom Boonen missed the charity cyclo-cross race bearing his name at the weekend after spending three days in hospital with a serous intestinal infection. He still has not fully recovered.

"Tom is not Tom, he's as limp as a rag," his partner Lore told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, who represented him at the Boonen and Friends race on Saturday. He had hoped to attend the event, but sent the race organizer and his Omega Pharma-QuickStep sport director Wilfried Peters a text message an hour before the start canceling his appearance. “He said he ate something at midday and now is in pain again,” Peeters said.

Boonen, the dominant rider of the 2012 Classics season, had already missed the team-building exercises in Slovakia.

"On the night between Sunday and Monday he was sick," Lore revealed. "On Tuesday we went to the emergency room. They kept him right there. He was in hospital  for three days.” After being released on Thursday, he felt better but then had a relapse.

Boonen has been prone to gastrointestinal problems since undergoing surgery for diverticulitis eight years ago.

“He dragged himself from his bed to the bathroom and back," said Lore. "He does nothing but sleep. In three days he was four pounds thinner. And there was nothing. It seems really not Tom, his eyes deep in their sockets.”

The four kilos were all lost due to dehydration, according to team doctor Yvon Van Mol, who described Boonen's illness as “no problem.” Nor did he think that the lost training would be a major problem. “Especially since Tom was on schedule. He trained between three and three and a half hours a day (earlier), so he has a little to spare."

“Everything depends on whether he is recovered in time to hit the training camp (as of December 10). That is crucial.”

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