Tom Boonen (Quick Step) denied pre-race favourite Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) victory in the Belgian road race national championship on Sunday.
The triple Paris-Roubaix winner and former world champion took his first victory in his home championship, where he headed a group of 15 riders to the line. Gilbert took second, with Kristof Goddaert (Top Sport Vlaanderen) in third.
"I'm super happy," Boonen said after the race. "In the last races, starting from the Tour du Dauphine and from then on to the Elektroer, I felt like I was really improving."
"Today I wasn't among the top favourites, and I knew that in order to win a race like this one I had to be having a great day and not make any mistakes. I did it."
One very big question remains - whether Boonen will be showing off his new Belgium national champion colours at this year's Tour de France, which starts on Saturday (July 4).
Boonen failed an out-of-competition test for cocaine in April - his second cocaine failure in less than a year - and was subsequently barred from riding in this year's Tour de France by race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). Although no formal sanction has been brought against the Quick Step star, ASO feel he has brought the sport into disrepute.
A court decision on whether Boonen should be allowed to ride in this year's Tour is expected on Tuesday, just four days before the race starts in Monaco.
Tour de France 2009 - Cycling Weekly's full coverage
Boonen barred from 2009 Tour de France
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Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.
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