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Slightly over six weeks after suffering a skull fracture in a crash during the Abu Dhabi Tour, Tom Boonen has been received encouraging news. Although some doctors initially suggested that he could be out of action for as long as six months, he has made a much quicker recovery than that and has been able to return to training.
“Things are going well after my crash,” he said via a team statement. “When I came back home from Abu Dhabi I was tired and in pain, but day by day I began feeling better and now everything is heading into the right direction.”
Boonen crashed after Theo Bos (MTN-Qhubeka) fell after debris became lodged in his wheel. The Belgian tried to avoid the fallen Dutch rider but collided with him, hitting the ground head first.
He experienced temporary unconsciousness and fractured his left temporal bone, an area of skull near the ear.
“It’s a difficult fracture, but it’s healing well, even if I can’t compare it with any of the other fractures I’ve had. Still, I’m happy, because a few days ago I have finally returned to training – not very intense ones, around three-hour long – followed by a couple of days of rest, as the doctors recommended me not to rush things.
“It’s really important to listen to my body and do things right before the new season.”
Boonen’s 2015 was affected by injury and he missed the Classics as a result. He is nearing the end of his career and is determined to try to have a strong Classic campaign in 2016.
His Boonen and Friends charity event will take place in Mol on Saturday. While he won’t be able to take part in the cyclocross race, he will be in attendance. What are described as 50 top riders will particulate in the sixth edition, looping around a 2 kilometre track in the Park of Zilvermeer.
It will benefit the Move To Improve and Bijs charities.
“This cyclocross is very important for me and I hope many people will come to support the riders and the two charities involved,” he said.
“The people taking care of this event did a fine job and I’m sure we’ll have a great time and a fun day. Unfortunately, I can’t race, but I’ll be there to welcome all my fans.”
In two weeks time he will travel to his Etixx – Quick-Step team’s first training camp prior to the 2016 season. It will be held in Denia in Spain and he is looking forward to it.
“I can’t wait for the training camp to be underway. I miss the guys, the staff, that great feeling that I have when I’m with the whole team,” he said.
“Denia will be perfect to outline my schedule and start focusing on 2016.”