Johan Museeuw backs Tom Boonen to rediscover Classics form

While Tom Boonen was outpaced by Ian Stannard this weekend, Johan Museeuw insists a win at Het Nieuwsblad is not Boonen's main goal

Tom Boonen attacks in the 2015 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
(Image credit: Watson)

Tom Boonen still has the talent to win a major Classic, according to Belgian legend Johan Museeuw, but the conditions must be perfect for him to do so.

Museeuw, who won both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders three times each, told Het Nieuwsblad that Boonen faces a tougher challenge in his advancing years than he did in his prime.

The Etixx-Quick-Step rider last won a Monument in 2012, when he eclipsed Museeuw’s records with his fourth Paris-Roubaix win, as well as a third Tour of Flanders.

But being outpaced by Ian Stannard at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday showed the Belgian may have lost his edge, but Museeuw insists he’s still a contender.

“Yes [he can win a Classic], but he is not as strong, especially the explosive Boonen we knew the last ten years,” he told the paper.

“The circumstances must be more lucky [now], but his condition is sufficient.”

>>> Tom Boonen’s Paris-Roubaix Specialized bike

Asked if Boonen was still the undisputed leader of an Etixx team swamped in Classics talent, Museeuw questioned whether the squad could continue with their tactics from Het Nieuwsblad.

“It is for Patrick Lefevere and Wilfried Peeters to keep the peace,” he continued. “After Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the barometer rose instead of fell. If only for the macho behavior would have been better that [Stijn] Vandenbergh or [Niki] Terpstra won the opening race.

“There is a question of whether to share a role as a leader, in return doubling your chances in the race. Victory at Het Nieuwsblad is not the big honour Boonen is looking for. He smells indeed the records [in the Classics], and he wants to go for them.”

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