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Belgian in search of additional bite ahead of his last chance to crown his spring campaign with success.

Photo: Sirotti








10.04.2014 @ 18:02 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Time is rapidly running out for Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Tom Boonen as the Belgian continues his quest for spring Classics glory. After his seventh place in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday and an uneventful Scheldeprijs today, there remains but one more race left for Boonen to salvage his spring Classics season.


His campaign was shortly blemished by personal problems which caused him to miss Milan-San Remo. Subsequently he proceeded to win the semi-classic Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but Boonen acknowledges that this win is insufficient for a rider of his level. However, a strong ride on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix can still turn things around.


Prior to today’s race, Boonen reflected once more on his foiled attempts to walk away with the glory for a record fourth time in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.


"The last 30 or 40 minutes I just wasn't physically fit enough," Boonen said before the start of the Scheldeprijs in Antwerp on Wednesday morning according to "I just missed that little bit extra that the guys who finished in front of me had. Seventh was a fair result. Before the race you try to motivate yourself, but it was the first time I did a race of more than six hours. Usually I did that in San Remo, but now I missed out on a week.


"I was very happy afterwards. I have very good sensations until the last 30 or 40 minutes. This week will give me maybe that little bit extra. Plus, Roubaix is a different race. Flanders was really hard this year. It'll be easier to save more energy for the final in Roubaix."


On Friday Boonen will join the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team on a recce tour on the Paris-Roubaix cobbles from the forest of Wallers-Arenberg and they'll ride until Orchies.


When quizzed whether he expected to be better in Paris-Roubaix than he was in the Tour of Flanders, the 33-year-old Belgian was confident.


"Absolutely. I'm already good but there's always room for improvement. There's always a bit of pain, even after two days. That's why it's good to race here so that things get going again and spin the legs. It's the easiest way to stay in the rhythm. The only thing we can do now is let time do its work. Tomorrow we're back in the hotel with the team and on Friday there's the reconnaissance. It's easier to maintain that rhythm with race. It'll be alright."


But first there was the Scheldeprijs today, a race that Boonen deliberately finished rather ignominiously.


"Nobody wanted to do the sprint, not even Vandenbergh," a joking Boonen said. "Out of anger I would've done it. It's not because it's [a sprint] against Kittel but about taking responsibility. I stopped sprinting here since they changed the date. After Paris-Roubaix I want to take the risk, but I'm not risking it four days ahead of Paris-Roubaix. I went through enough this year. I'm going well now so I think it was wiser to put all my money on Sunday instead of risking a crash here. I'm being judged on Paris-Roubaix anyway, whether I win here or not."



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