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"We have always been pretty ordinary. The season was not dramatic, but at the moment I see no successor to Boonen and Gilbert."

Photo: Sirotti








19.11.2014 @ 18:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tonight the Kristallen Fiets will be awarded to the best Belgian rider. For Johan Museeuw, Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet are the top favourites. Museeuw who has been entitled to vote explains why he chose Gilbert and speaks about Tom Boonen's future in an interview with Sporza.


"I chose Philippe Gilbert," Johan Museeuw confesses to Sporza. "This year he has again won theAmstel Gold Race classic. Amstel is perhaps just below the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, but it's still a classic."



"This year you had to choose between a rider who has won a classic, Philippe Gilbert, and a rider who was very regular, Greg Van Avermaet. I have a soft spot for those 2. If I let my sporting heart speak, I would choose Van Avermaet.


"But I have voted for Gilbert. After your career, only one place counts and that is the first one. Even though you have achieved many places of honour and won races that are below the classics, it does not count."


What does Van Avermaet need to do to win a big trophy? 


"He's been a winner, but must grow into an absolute winner. He is a champion at the level of Boonen and Gilbert, but his palmares are not similar.


"Greg has always chosen to do more than the classics. He wants to be good in the Tour, but you have to make choices. He is a rider who can shine in the spring and autumn classics. Next year, he can certainly go for his first victory in the Tour of Flanders."



Johan Museeuw did not really see many candidates for the prize. 


"It was not a 'grand cru,'" he says. "We have always been pretty ordinary. The season was not dramatic, but at the moment I see no successor to Boonen and Gilbert.


"They are winners and normally win big races every year. Now we have Van Avermaet and Vanmarcke who are just below. But they have yet to prove that they are winners.


"I hope they take that step next year. Then we know that there are successors when Boonen and Gilbert retire. There's also Tim Wellens, but he is a different type of rider. He is still searching a bit. He is still young so let him grow."


According to Johan Museeuw, Tom Boonen will not be in contention for the trophy. Does the age weigh begin to weigh on the 34-year-old Boonen? "I've been through that phase," said Museeuw. "You fight against age and try to use our experience."


"Next year he will still participate in the Tour of Flanders. Winning is hard, but he will be in contention. If all goes well and if he is brought to the finish, he can win. But other riders from other countries will be there and will be at their peak in De Ronde.


"I can see him again winning Paris-Roubaix. This is a race for riders with a big engine and with experience. He can use his experience. The explosiveness means less."


In some newspapers, team manager Patrick Lefevere has been critical about his leader. 


"That's one way to keep a rider sharp and alert," Museeuw says. "Furthermore, Boonen's contract will expire at the end of 2015. That leaves his team manager with a choice: do I keep him or do I let him go? In the latter case, you can new the bigger budget to build a new team for the classics.



"Tom has to prove that he deserves his salary. From a pulicity point of view, he does. But a team pays a rider to win races."



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