Tom Boonen says his comeback was ‘concrete,’ but has now been abandoned due to coronavirus 

Bad news for Boonen fans, as the Classics star will not be rejoining the peloton

Tom Boonen (Yuzuru Sanada/AFP/Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Tom Boonen has said his plans for a comeback were “concrete,” but have since been abandoned due to coronavirus.

The Belgian Classics superstar had intended to return to racing at the highest level, having retired mid-way through the 2017 season.

Boonen, now 39, previously said he has gained more experience since leaving the peloton and wanted to put that knowledge to good use. 

But the former Quick-Step rider’s plans were upended by the coronavirus pandemic, and Boonen says he has barely touched the bike. 

When asked by Vive le Vélo if his plans were serious, Boonen said: “They said to me 'if you are going to train anyway, why not make a comeback right away?' Suddenly it was booming and there were concrete plans.

“I was triggered and wondered how difficult or easy it would be to get back to that level, because I am turning 40 this year. I thought maybe I want to do that. But then it was mid-March and suddenly there was corona and then everything came to a standstill.”

Boonen retired as a legend of the sport, with 121 wins on his palmares including four editions of Paris-Roubaix, a World Championship title, three Tour of Flanders trophies and six stages of the Tour de France

His battles with rival Fabian Cancellara on the cobbles of France and Belgium are some of the most exciting editions of the Monuments.

Since retirement, Boonen has worked as a technological adviser to Quick-Step’s Belgian rivals Lotto-Soudal and also established himself as a racing driver.

Earlier this year, Boonen discussed his comeback ambitions on Belgian radio.  

He said: “I find it very strange, but I actually have a lot more experience than when I was racing myself.

“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.”

>>> ‘I always want more’: Julian Alaphilippe coy on defence of yellow jersey

But it seems a Boonen comeback is another event suspended by the coronavirus pandemic.  

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.