Tom Boonen celebrated his Tour of Flanders win briefly before focusing on his next races, Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix, this week.
“Sunday night, I slept only for a few hours,” Boonen said in a press conference yesterday in Antwerp. “I had a glass of wine, slept and then woke up and looked at the Monday morning newspapers. I was amazed, it was sheer madness. Maybe it was too much.”
The 31-year-old Belgian of team Omega Pharma-QuickStep won Flanders for a third time on Sunday ahead of Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini). The win equalled a record, put him in a group of only five three-time winners.
If he wins Scheldeprijs today near Antwerp, he’ll join a club of three-time winners with Mark Cavendish and Piet Oellibrandt. He said, however, that he will work for team-mate Francesco Chicchi. Italy’s Chicchi has won five races so far this season.
Cavendish is skipping the race for the birth of his first child – Delilah Grace Cavendish arrived on Wednesday morning.
“The place on the calendar, between two big races, makes me want to avoid any risks. There have been a lot of crashes in the last couple of years,” Boonen said.
“I’m breaking every record it seems, but it’s not my main concern. It’s unlikely that I’ll win Scheldeprijs to equal Cavendish and Oellibrandt.”
Boonen’s next big goal is Paris-Roubaix, where he won three times already (2005, 2008, 2009). If he wins it this year he’ll equal another record. Belgian Roger De Vlaeminck is the only cyclist to win it four times.
“Of course it’s in my mind to win Roubaix for a fourth time and equal Roger De Vlaeminck, but it’s not an obsession. I just want to win the race and look over the palmarès afterwards. If I focus too much, it’s extra pressure.”
The race Sunday starts in Compiègne to the north of Paris and ends around 250 kilometres later in Roubaix’s velodrome. Boonen with three wins knows the course well, but he still plans to reconnoitre it. He said, “It’s just tradition.”
“I know the cobble sectors, but I will probably recon Roubaix on Friday just for tradition. I’ve always done it this way, I don’t want to quit the habit.”