Boonens revel in Ronde success

The Boonen family reflect on yesterday's success in the Tour of Flanders and begin to consider a sim

The Boonen family reflect on yesterday’s success in the Tour of Flanders and begin to consider a sim

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM While Tom Boonen was giving post-Tour of Flanders interviews to the assembled media throng in Meerbeke after his first major Classics victory, his father, Andr was leaning against a tree lining the finishing straight still trying to take in what his son had achieved just minutes earlier. Speaking to our colleague Philippe van Holle at La Dernire Heure, Boonen senior described his son’s solo win as “extraordinary”, adding: “All week we’ve been thinking about the chances of Tom winning Flanders and he’s done it! But it’s fair to say that I would never have expected him to have done it in this manner. I was expecting him to win a sprint from a group. But I did know that he was feeling very strong.” Andr Boonen admitted he had seen Tom win in similar fashion many times before when he was a junior and amateur rider, “but to do so at the pro level is truly outstanding. The crazy thing is that I have the impression that, in the form he is now, he is perfectly capable of doing the same kind of thing at Paris-Roubaix. But we have to keep our feet on the ground. Let’s savour this success first and let Tom take the next week day by day.” Boonen’s Quick Step team-mate Nick Nuyens revealed that “very early in the day Tom let us all know with a wink here and another there that he was capable of taking things right to the finish.” As for the Flanders winner himself, he said he decided to attack late in the race because he was afraid that he would win any final sprint, but that someone else would already have attacked before him and won the race. “My rivals would all have attacked in turn and someone would have ended up getting away,” said Boonnen. “When I saw that Van Petegem was recovering just after making his attack, I said to myself that that was the moment. And in the end it’s better to win on your own, isn’t it?” Boonen also admitted that he had suffered a very rare attack of nerves in the hours before the race. Such had been the media demands on him, he said, in the days before Flanders that it was only when he retired to his room on the eve of the event that the significance of what was about to take place struck him. “I just talked to [room-mate] Kevin Hulsmans about life in general and that seemed to relax me,” he told Van Holle. Following Paolo Bettini’s withdrawal from the race because of illness, Boonen found himself with the whole Quick Step team behind him, a fact that he said worried him but subsequently admitted had benefited his chances. “It was the first time it had happened in a race of that stature. I was afraid that the race might prove difficult without another leader on the team, but I totally prefer having the whole team behind me.”