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by Mark Zalewski
April 8, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Valverde sprints out of select group to win Pais Vasco, stage 5; Coquard wins final stage, Calmejane the overall for Direct Energie at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe; Brennauer takes sprint win in Healthy Ageing Tour as van Dijk protects lead; With an eye on the all-time record, Boonen calm heading into final Roubaix; ‘One of the classiest of the big champions:’ Rivals, teammates celebrate Boonen’s career; Aru suffers knee injury during altitude training; No Liège defense for Poels due to injury; Road furniture causes more crashes at Pais Vasco, Cummings and Atapuma out with injuries; Professional Cycling Association reviews disc brake covers; British Cycling creates ‘People Director’ position to focus on athlete welfare; Team Sky bring three riders new to Paris-Roubaix; Second indoor velodrome coming to US; Video: Canyon-SRAM on why they train; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour: Focus on Ronde van Vlaanderen; Video: UCI timing partner Tissot.
Sitting at the head of the room, facing a sea of journalists, microphones and cameras at QuickStep’s pre-Roubaix conference, Tom Boonen looked fully at ease with himself. He was three days away from the final event of his professional career, a race he desperately wants to win.
But even though the all-time record of five Paris-Roubaix victories is on the line, there was zero hint of nerves. Everything may be riding on Sunday’s race, but he’s completely in the zone.
“I am quite okay,” he said, asked if he was emotional about his looming retirement. “I made a decision last year. I am still standing by my decision. The decision involved trying to be on a good level to finish these races.
“I am [good] right now. So in the end I got what I wanted. There is no point now trying to be all emotional about it. When you start as a rider you know you have to finish one day. My day has come. I am at peace with my decision.”
Asked again if he might be emotional on Sunday, he refuted the suggestion. “No, no,” he said with certainty. “I won’t lose my focus.”