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15.02.2016 @ 10:08 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Etixx – Quick-Step’s Tom Boonen had a topsy-turvy 2015, crashing at Paris-Nice and suffering another crash at Abu Dhabi Tour in October. The first of those crashes saw Boonen sidelined for the spring Classics while the latter left him with partial hearing loss in his left ear.

 

Obviously, Boonen’s potential hearing problems following his crash at Abu Dhabi came up when he talked to the media at the team’s training camp in Spain.

 

“That was so frustrating, because I wanted to race at Abu Dhabi to finish the season as late as possible, and have a short break, to prepare for the spring classics in the best way possible. And then to crash like that … I hope my bad luck is behind me. I think I deserve it after the past few years. If it was a question of it not being safe, I would stop. We have done many tests, and the doctors say I can race without problems. I never thought about quitting, because I would never like to quit like that, Boonen explained according to Velonews.com”

 

An experienced rider, Boonen has seen his fair share of tactical changes throughout his career and he is none too pleased about the approach of the majority of today’s riders.

 

“When I first turned pro, the style of racing was to wait, wait, wait. I tried to change that, but now everyone is waiting again. They are all afraid to attack and then get dropped in the final. I think some guys would prefer to lose the race and not attack, rather than to attack and get dropped. I don’t like that style of racing. Everyone is predictable these days, and the easiest way to get beaten is to be predictable. Sometimes you have to have the balls to try something.”

 

Boonen has seen and done it all before when it comes to the Classics yet he has lost none of his appetite for those do-or-die one day affairs.

"I am just as motivated now as I was in my first years as a pro, maybe even more so, because I won’t have that many more chances. "

 

These big races are the ones that I live for. All the training and work for months goes into just a few special days. That’s why I love the classics. There’s no tomorrow, no waiting to have a good day, like in a stage race. You either win or you do not. No one holds back. It’s all left out on the road.”

 

Weather conditions typically play a decisive role in the northern classics. When quizzed about which kind of weather he would prefer, Boonen said he prefers bad weather as his experience in those conditions might give him an edge.

 

“For sure, when it’s wet and muddy, it’s a different race. It’s like racing over the cobbles with a layer of soap on them. I’ve always done a lot of training on cyclocross bikes in the winter, so I am not afraid of them. No one likes to race in bad weather, but it does add some magic.”

After the spring Classics, the world road race championship in Qatar later this year is a race Boonen might target. Speaking of his chances,

 

Boonen pointed out that the Worlds will be different in nature from the Tour of Qatar where he has enjoyed plenty of success in previous years and also that he believes it will be a race for pure sprinters.

 

“I think it will be a race for pure sprinters. People keep talking about echelons, but we only do 80 kilometres in the desert. The rest of the race is on a circuit in the city, so there won’t be much wind there. I’ve raced there during that time of year, and I’ve noticed that racing at 40 kilometres per hour at 45 degrees Celsius is not as easy as going 60 kilometres per hour at 25 degrees. It’s going to be a completely different kind of race than what we’ve done there at the Tour of Qatar.”

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