To mark Tom Boonen‘s final professional race in Belgium, organisers of Scheldeprijs have decided to start the race in the home town of the two-time winner.
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The 35-year-old won Scheldeprijs in both 2004 and 2006 and will look to add a third in 2017 when the race rolls out from Mol – the town where he grew up.
“I was incredibly honoured when the organizers of the Scheldeprijs put their plan to me. I feel especially proud and grateful,” Boonen said at the route announcement.
“It’ll be a unique day for my fans and promises to be extra busy with the start in Mol but I’m happy about it. Of course I’ll quick go to bed afterwards because I remain ambitious for Paris-Roubaix.”
Scheldeprijs falls in between the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in April. Boonen finished 15th in Flanders this year before losing out in a final sprint to Mat Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge) at Paris-Roubaix the following Sunday.
“I was pleasantly surprised when the question came,” the mayor of Mol told the press conference. “We are very proud that we can organise the departure of Boonen, a rider who means a lot to us.”