Boonen tries to diffuse Petacchi spat
Tom Boonen says he will be trying to patch up his relationship with Alessandro Petacchi after the It
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Usually they let their legs do most of the talking, but since shortly before the Tour of Flanders a war on words seems to have broken out between Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi, writes Susanne Horsdal. The spat apparently began when in a pre-Tour-of-Flanders press conference Boonen was asked what he thought of Petacchi’s chances of winning the race and answered: “They’re non-existent.”
Apparently that honesty didn’t go down too well with the Italian, who in Wednesday’s Belgian papers said of Boonen: “In races in Flanders and probably also in Paris-Roubaix he’s the strongest. He has no rivals. But I don’t really want to talk about Boonen. I don’t want to do the same as him. He should stop judging other riders. I don’t like the comments he’s been making about me. In the last three years I’m the pro rider with the most victories. I never comment on the competitors, I respect them. Boonen doesn’t. He talks like an old sports director.”
Elsewhere in the Belgian press, Boonen was quoted for saying about Petacchi: “He’s the fastest sprinter in the world – together with me. If we decide it in a sprint it’ll probably end 6-4 in his favour. But that’s also the only weapon he has. Listen, Flemish races are not like stage races where you can be taken to the finish line by your team-mates. In Flanders you have to do it on your own.”
But shortly before the start of Ghent-Wevelgem, Boonen decided to try to diffuse the spat. “There’s been some things in the Belgian press, but I really respect Alessandro, and I will also go and tell him that,” said the world champion. We await the next instalment with interest.
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