uses cookies for statistics and targeting ads. This information is shared with third parties.

Every day we bring you more pro-cycling news

"I had mixed feelings on the podium. I saw my brother and father and then I realized that I had prepared myself for a big race for the penultimate time."

Photo: Tinkoff / BettiniPhoto (Graham Watson)


18.12.2016 @ 10:28 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Just before the well-deserved break, the 2016 season ended with a big battle for the rainbow jersey in Qatar. Sun, sand and lots of wind were to decide the world title. In an interview with Sporza, protagonists Tom Boonen, Mark Cavendish and Greg Van Avermaet look back at the event.


Echelons were predicted in Qatar and they played a key role in the race. 


"Everyone knew it would happen, but in the leading group of around 20 riders we had six Belgians. That says it all," Greg Van Avermaet explains.


"The Belgians were incredibly strong and rode truly as a team,” said Mark Cavendish. "We wanted to get rid of some riders, but we doubted whether we could drop Cavendish because he was glued to my wheel,” Tom Boonen added.


After the windy spectacle, an anticlimax on the local circuit followed. 


"That was a procession. With the wind you could not stay away with an early attack," Cavendish remembered. "You did not feel you could accelerate and ride off. It was good in that way, also for Sagan," said Boonen.


"I just talked to him about an attack, but Sagan wanted to gamble everything one the sprint,” said Van Avermaet. "There were no allies. Everyone was fast and wanted to do his sprint."


About five kilometers from the finish, Niki Terpstra made a move. "I had already looked at him and asked what he would do. I saw him coming from far behind," explained Tom Boonen who is Terpstra’s teammate at Etixx-QuickStep.


The attack of Tom Leezer, another Dutchman, 2.5 kilometers from the finish was much smarter. 


"Nobody did anything. Had we been riding the whole day for nothing?" said Boonen.


"I told Jürgen Roelandts that he had to ride, otherwise Leezer would have become  world champion. Sorry, that sounds maybe a little hard for Tom,” laughed the Belgian leader.


"In that sprint I had Sagan and Cavendish on my wheel and from the second row they came with more speed. “


"I have not watched the sprint. It still hurts," said Cavendish, who had to leave the worlds title to Peter Sagan after a very exciting sprint.


"I had looked at all the other Worlds races and on the right the riders were always boxed in. I gave it one chance in 1,000 that it would open for Sagan on the right that day. I gave it one chance in 1,000 that it would be closed for me on the left that day.


"But that day it would open up on the right and would close at the same time on the left. It was inconceivable. I do not understand it.”


"I really thought I could beat them in the sprint. I still think so if the sprint had been different," said Tom Boonen.


"Tom has many great sprint victories. But with the legs of Sagan and me he will always be in a difficult situation. He can sprint, but he is a specialist for the classics," Cavendish responded.


After the finish, the Belgians had a nagging question: Could Greg Van Avermaet not help his teammates more in the final kilometers? "Jürgen did a tremendous effort. He is a top rider," Boonen explained.


"Greg did not join us. After the finish, I've been cautious in my comments. But you cannot finish 3rd and 10th. Greg told me afterwards that he could not do better. Then it ends there.”


"If Leezer had not been so strong and was caught 1 kilometer from the finish, I could have gone. But that did not happen," Van Avermaet explained. "And then I was too far behind to lead out in the sprint. If I could do anything, I would have definitely done it."


With Sagan, Cavendish and Boonen, the Worlds ended with a dream podium. 


"It was an honor to stand beside them on that podium," Cavendish said. "They are not just champions, but cycling legends and good friends. It made it special."


"I had mixed feelings on the podium," Boonen added. "I saw my brother and father and then I realized that I had prepared myself for a big race for the penultimate time.


"The next time will be the last time. It will soon be over. Then I first realized how close I am to the end."



Bycykling 101: Navigering i byens gader og cykelvenlige... 27.11.2023 @ 12:11The Best Danish Cyclist To Bet On At 2022 Tour De France 13.01.2022 @ 15:262022 Upcoming Tournament Overview 03.01.2022 @ 09:45Best Place to Find Stand-Up Paddleboards 16.06.2021 @ 08:16What are Primoz Roglic’s Chances to Win 2021 Tour de Fr... 17.03.2021 @ 08:37Amazing victory by young champion Sarah Gigante 04.02.2021 @ 14:21Three reasons why cycling is one of the best ways to ex... 28.09.2020 @ 12:03Why do businesses use meeting room managers? 14.09.2020 @ 13:42Five things that you can do, if you want to gain more f... 20.08.2020 @ 15:38One for the road 09.06.2020 @ 15:25List of CyclingQuotes previews 07.05.2020 @ 13:20Blue Energy: room for all interests 26.08.2019 @ 12:56Get your daily dose of exercise at home 08.07.2019 @ 10:443 good advice to be able to afford your favorite bike 25.02.2019 @ 12:32Cycle through gorgeous landscapes 22.10.2018 @ 21:41Balance Your Economy and Diet and Start Saving Money 08.10.2018 @ 11:18Stay Safe: 3 Helmets That Can Keep Your Head Protected... 20.07.2018 @ 07:59Planning to bet on Tour De France - Bet types and strat... 24.05.2018 @ 14:18Basics of cycling betting 25.10.2017 @ 13:10Bauer moves to ORICA-SCOTT 28.08.2017 @ 10:45End of the road for CyclingQuotes 08.01.2017 @ 16:00Rui Costa confirms Giro participation 07.01.2017 @ 12:55Van Avermaet: I am not afraid of Sagan 07.01.2017 @ 09:45Unchanged course for E3 Harelbeke 07.01.2017 @ 09:32Jenner takes surprise win at Australian U23 Championships 07.01.2017 @ 08:53No replacement for Meersman at Fortuneo-Vital Concept 06.01.2017 @ 19:14Barguil with two goals in 2017 06.01.2017 @ 19:06More details about French Vuelta start emerges 06.01.2017 @ 14:16Kristoff to start season at Etoile de Besseges 06.01.2017 @ 14:10Ion Izagirre announces schedule for first year at Bahrain 06.01.2017 @ 12:40JLT Condor optimistic for Herald Sun Tour 06.01.2017 @ 09:19Haas leads Dimension Data trio in fight for Australian... 06.01.2017 @ 09:15Sagan spearheads Bora-hansgrohe at Tour Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:12Henao and Thomas lead Sky Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:09Bauer crowned New Zealand TT champion 06.01.2017 @ 08:33Van der Poel ready to defend Dutch title 05.01.2017 @ 21:00Pantano ambitious for first Tour with Trek 05.01.2017 @ 20:41Landa with new approach to the Giro 05.01.2017 @ 20:36Sunweb Development Team sign Goos and Zepuntke 05.01.2017 @ 20:27Dumoulin confirms Giro participation 05.01.2017 @ 20:19Bauer targets victories in Quick-Step debut 05.01.2017 @ 20:16Gaviria and Boonen lead Quick-Step in San Juan 05.01.2017 @ 20:13Team Sunweb presented in Germany 05.01.2017 @ 20:09ASO take over major German WorldTour race 05.01.2017 @ 11:01Team Sunweb unveil new jersey 05.01.2017 @ 10:54Reactions from the Australian TT Championships 05.01.2017 @ 08:27Dennis defends Australian TT title 05.01.2017 @ 08:21Scotson takes back to back U23 TT titles in Australia 05.01.2017 @ 08:15Utrecht on track to host 2020 Vuelta 04.01.2017 @ 18:28Pre-season setback for Talansky 04.01.2017 @ 17:56Kristoff: It's not impossible for me to win in Rou... 04.01.2017 @ 17:49Boom close to first cyclo-cross win in LottoNL debut 04.01.2017 @ 17:40UAE Abu Dhabi make late signing of Arab rider 04.01.2017 @ 17:36UAE Abu Dhabi unveil new jersey 04.01.2017 @ 17:30BMC unveil race schedule 04.01.2017 @ 17:21

Currently no news in this list

25 years | today
39 years | today
26 years | today
22 years | today
38 years | today