Tom Boonen admits he often considers making a professional comeback

Retired superstar Classics specialist says that a return to racing is "an option" speaking on the radio.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Four-time winner of Paris-Roubaix, Tom Boonen, has not ruled out a possible return to racing at the highest level when he was asked about it on Belgian radio, Sporza reports.

Boonen, 39, was on Studio Brussel promoting his new TV series, Tom Cycle, shown on Belgian TV. But when presenter Michèle Cuvelier moved onto his retirement he was rather open about a possible come back and on his life since retiring.

The former world champion said: "I still watch a lot of competitions, because I am an analyst. I still cycle occasionally to try to stay fit. However, that is not as good as before."

Retiring after the 2017 Paris-Roubaix, Boonen says he has gained more experience since retiring: "I find it very strange, but I actually have a lot more experience than when I was racing myself.

"Then I shielded myself a lot more. And you were in the middle of it. You are one of the key figures and you actually get very little. You are also protected. You are in hotels or you are training at home. Everything that happens happens rightaround you."

Boonen continues: "Then you go to such a start of a race, you are in that race and you can decide it yourself.

"Now, if I watch TV or go to a race, everything happens without you having a handle on it. Making that switch is still difficult for me, I think. I live much harder with the race now and go much harder than I used to."

Over his amazing career, Boonen won 121 races including four-editions of Paris-Roubaix and the World Championships road race, along with six stages of the Tour de France and three Tour of Flanders titles.

In his final appearance for Quick-Step Floors, now Deceuninck-Quick-Step, Boonen finished 13th in Roubaix. A strong display by any normal rider, but from a four-time winner it will have been disappointing end.

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The comeback conversation ended after a listener called in and asked is Boonen would try and win Paris-Roubaix "one more time for us?"

"Can I think about it for a very long time and very hard?" he replied.

"I sometimes wonder myself the same question," he admitted.

"Last week I said, how easy or how hard would it be? I sometimes ask myself that question. Certainly because of the return of [tennis player] Kim (Clijsters). It is an option."

Kim Clijsters returned to professional tennis after a period away from the sport with great success and is making a second comeback this year, eight years after retiring.

If Boonen were to return he would face young riders like Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) as well as long established stars like Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), among others.

He said: "I will be 40 at the end of this year. If I ever have to do it once, it's going to have to be now."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.