Boonen is targeting a fifth victory this year but has been struggling to compete with Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara after a difficult return to form after fracturing is skull at the Dubai Tour last October. The Etixx-Quickstep team is under intense pressure after a so far disappointing Classics campaign but Boonen says the only pressure he feels comes from within.
“The spring Classics are different for me now. I’ve already done well and just want to perform well in them one more time,” he explains during the intimate video. “Pressure is something I put on myself, it’s not from the rest of the world that puts pressure on me.”
I only have a few limited goals left. The biggest one is winning Paris-Roubaix for is a fifth time is one of the only reason why I’m still racing. Winning a fifth Roubaix is something that lives its own life a little bit. I like that race so much and I know that it normal conditions, I’ll always be in the final and be able to defend myself.”
Boonen first proved he could be a contender at Paris-Roubaix when he was just 18. He finished third in the 2002 race with the US Postal Service team before starting a special relationship with the race. His first win came in 2005, his fourth came in 2012, when he also won the Tour of Flanders. He clearly has a special relationship and special ability to ride on the cobbles.
“Everyone talks about the cobblestones. They have the effect of glue, it’s trying to slow you down,” he says in the video, using the singular to describe the emotions, pain and effort needed to fight them during Paris-Roubaix.
“You need energy to get over it. The easier it is for you to keep your speed up, the easier it is in the end.”
“I love the cobbles because its honest, just me and the bike.”
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