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"Because of the crash I will start later than usual, at the Tour of Valencia. I lost a lot of time and many hours in the recovery and, together with the team, we decided that I should continue my training before facing the first compet...

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep/Tim De Waele


14.01.2016 @ 15:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Undoubtedly one of the best classics riders of cycling history thanks to his four victories in Paris-Roubaix, three in the Tour of Flanders and Ghent-Wevelgem and five in Harelbeke, not to mention the wins at the World Championships in Madrid in 2005, in six stages of the Tour de France where he won the green jersey in 2007 and in two stages of the Vuelta a Espana, Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick Step) was going to be one of the great attractions of the tenth Tour de San Luis but because of the crash he suffered last October in Abu Dhabi, he will skip the race.


"Because of the crash I will start later than usual, at the Tour of Valencia," explains the Belgian champion. "I lost a lot of time and many hours in the recovery and, together with the team, we decided that I should continue my training before facing the first competition."


The crash occurred in the second stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour and left Boonen with a fracture of the left temporal bone for which he had to be hospitalized. He had to remain in hospital for several days, unable to return to Belgium, but later his recovery has been good. 2015 was bad for him with just four wins, as he missed the spring classics after another crash in Paris-Nice that left him with an acromioclavicular dislocation that required surgery.


"Although I can not be with the Etixx-Quick Step team in San Luis, we have a very competitive line-up, with Fernando Gaviria, the new star, at the helm," continues Boonen. "I'm sure that both he - he won two stages last year - and his teammates will fight to get the best possible results in a race that, despite its young age, has become a reference in cycling ."


While Colombian Gaviria will fight against Sagan and Chicchi, among many others, in the sprints, Boonen will continue training with the hope of being competitive as soon as possible.


"I love the Tour de San Luis where I've been three times and won a stage," he said about his 2012 win. "I have very good memories, because it is a very well organized race, the weather is great and the tour is very well planned. Despite its short history the race already occupies an important position internationally and contributes to the development of South American cycling."


In the absence of Boonen, Fernando Gaviria and Rodrigo Contreras, the 20-year-old Colombian who finished fifth overall last year in San Luis, will defend the colors of Etixx-Quixk Step alongside Stijn Vandenbergh, Fabio Sabatini, Lukasz Wisniowski and Maximiliano Richeze, who will be responsible for the lead-outs. 



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