From Agence French Presse:
Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen has said that the London Olympics will give him the chance to prove that at 31 he can still produce the goods in the saddle.
Bothered by several injuries last year, Boonen recorded just two race victories, Gent-Wevelgem and the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar.
The Mol-born cyclist is keen to prove the doubters wrong in 2012 and has set his sights on achieving glory in London.
“I’ve studied the Olympic course. It’s a good circuit. I’m convinced that I can achieve something. The Olympic road event is a real goal,” Boonen said at a presentation of the Omega Pharma–Quick-Step team in Vilvorde.
“It will be without doubt one of the most important times of my career because the Games are the most prestigious sporting event. I wasn’t in Athens (2004), nor Beijing (2008) and I regret it,” he added.
With the Tour de France not scheduled to finish until July 22, Boonen has questioned whether taking part in cycling’s biggest race is the best way to prepare for the Olympic road race that takes place a mere six days after it finishes in Paris.
“I don’t know if the Tour is the best preparation for the Games. And with Levi Leipheimer and Tony Martin we have signed excellent riders for the general classification,” said the 2005 World Champion.
Despite the disappointment of an injury-plagued past couple of seasons, Boonen is adamant he still has the drive it takes to be successful.
“I am obviously hungry for wins. I know what I can still do. Don’t write me off.
“To win as early as possible in the season—why not the Milan-San Remo—would lift a massive weight off my shoulders. But my greatest wish is to be able to participate in a full season without injury.”