Tom Boonen says that he’s back to his best after a solid winter of training – and wants to repeat his 2012 standout year after the disappointment of last season.

Speaking at Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s final training camp in Calpe, Spain, Boonen said: “I’ve already had a lot of time on the bike since I started in September, so I also had a long winter but it was good for my condition.

“But that doesn’t take away that I haven’t raced since July, so I want to start racing again and see where I am in a race situation. It’s always different in a race than during training so I want to start racing as soon as possible. As for training, it’s gone very good.”

Like team-mates Mark Cavendish and Alessandro Petacchi, Boonen will commence his season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina from January 20.

“I’m very happy at the moment and can’t wait to start my season at Tour de San Luis, a race that brought me luck in 2012 and opened one of my best seasons. However my focus for the first part of the season is on the Spring Classics. Everybody knows what those races mean to me and how I feel about them. I will do my best to be in top condition for those races and once the Classics are done I will then consider the second part of my season.” 

In 2012, Boonen won Paris-Roubaix for the fourth time, the Tour of Flanders for the third time, Ghent-Wevelgem and E3 Harelbeke in an utterly dominant display of Spring Classics riding. Last year, though, he came away empty handed after starting the year in hospital with a serious infection in his elbow. His woes continued when a fractured rib sustained in the Tour of Flanders ruled him out of Paris-Roubaix. Omega Pharma-QuickStep ended the Spring Classics without a victory.

“Tom Boonen will be back and I have a feeling he is on the right track to return to his previous level,” said team boss Patrick Lefevre. “Tom will also find a group of motivated and strong riders for these kinds of races, for example Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra.” 

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