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“The fatigue generated by these trips is undeniable. He’s [boonen] paid for an upgrade to first class for himself on certain long flights and has sometimes delayed his return from trips to benefit from a better sleep,&rdquo...

Photo: ASO / B. Bade






27.02.2014 @ 18:02 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

As the “marginal gains” had to be situated at the very top of the most influential key-words ahead of 2014 year, always up to date Omega Pharma-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere hopes that the ones made by Tom Boonen while planning his early season’s travels should occur significantly beneficial at Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, yet to be won by the Belgian champion.


By marginal gains, Levefere understands a very careful and drawn to tiniest details planning, what was perfectly explained in an article published by Het Nieuwsblad entitled “Boonen wins Omloop in bed?”. The story published by the Belgian newspaper is dedicated to Boonen’s travel arrangements after the Omani race and even though the headline seems to be slightly exaggerated, it reports in fact, that Omaga Pharma-Quick Step rider managed to gain two additional hours of sleep by taking a taxi to Muscat airpost instead of using the shuffle bus, like other riders did.


Boonen has completed three races so far this season: Tour de San Luis, Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman, and even though racing in a good weather conditions are usually beneficial, it is also known that time lost to long travels can negatively influence further performances while following a busy racing schedule. Lefevere insists, however, that the tiny details are what really matters and he made sure to minimalize loses caused by long distances his riders were forced to cover.


“He had good memories of his experience at the Tour de San Luis in 2013 and so he wanted to return there,” Lefevere told La Dernière Heure.


“The negative side to that event is the journey, which is very tiring because as well as the main flight from Europe to Argentina, there are still various local connections that bring the travel time up to almost 30 hours.”


“For the return, I decided to charter a private plane for the internal flight so as to give my riders a better chance to recover,” Lefevere said. “Sometimes these little details are the ones that, in the end, make a big difference.”


Lefevere also confessed that Boonen himself was equally interested in getting a proper rest between early season’s events…


“He’s paid for an upgrade to first class for himself on certain long flights and has sometimes delayed his return from trips to benefit from a better sleep,” Lefevere said.


Another way of how Omega Pharma-Quick Step, with their undeniable leader for cobbled classics, are supposed to regain strength after stints in Argentina and Persian gulf is not organizing a collective reconnaissance ahead of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, even though the route undergone some significant changes.


“The fatigue generated by these trips is undeniable,” Lefevere said.


“That’s why we preferred not to have a collective recon ahead of Nieuwsblad. On returning from the Tour of Oman, Tom’s priority was recovery.”


Usually the transition between racing in the Southern Hemisphere or in the Middle East and Europe in February causes just another problem, but it shouldn’t be the case this time around as the race is expected to be held in weather conditions resembling more an early spring than late winter.


“The Belgian winter was quite mild this year and so the change in temperature won’t be as violent for riders who up to now have been in the sun,” Lefevere said.



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