Tornado Tom a big hit at Interbike

Tom Boonen chats with visitors and signs posters in the SRAM booth.

Tom Boonen of the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team enjoyed perhaps the best season of his long career in 2012, his first year on SRAM, winning both Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders. Photo: ©TDWSport.com

We want to thank Tom Boonen of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step for dropping by the SRAM booth at Interbike. We kept the four-time Paris-Roubaix and three time Tour of Flanders winner busy signing posters and talking with our visits. But we also managed to catch up with Tom about his thoughts on his gear, his plans for the year ahead and his thoughts on his classics rival (and fellow SRAM athlete) Peter Sagan:

How is your preparation going for next season after all of the injuries this year?

I am really looking forward to next year. It’s been a really long time without (being on) a bike right now, but it was the only solution to have the injury really heal well…. Now I’m just taking my time and start training again when I come back from Vegas. So I have a really long winter ahead but I’m looking forward to it.

How do you stay motivated through all of the ups and downs of being a pro cyclist?

If you’re a pro like I am for a long period of time, you know if some goes wrong – the preparation of the spring classics, for example – it’s really difficult to gain that back. This last time it took a little time to digest this problem a little bit and to realize it was a dark, dark season especially after (such a great season) last year. But like in life, sometimes it’s like this. Sometimes everything goes the way you want it to go and it’s easy. This year everything went bad and then it’s a hard year. These are the periods that you really have to be strong in your head and you always remember that the bike is what you love.

There were no shortage of Tom Boonen fans who lined up to meet Tornado Tom and get a signed poster. He happily talked with each one of them.

What do you think of Zipp’s new stiffer 188/V9 rear hub and spoke lacing for the new Zipp wheels?

The frame and the wheels hold the energy you lose because your frame or your wheels are not stiff enough. The stiff you can have your wheels and your bike frame, the better. I’ve already ridden the wheel, actually, and I really like it.

What do you like about SRAM’s RED 22 gruppo?

It’s a little smoother. The bike I have at home right now, we have the 16 (tooth gear) back on. So, you really have gear-by-gear-by-gear so it’s really smooth again. On a road bike when you have to switch sometimes from a 15 to a 17 in the back, sometimes the difference is a little bit too much. You find it difficult to find that sweet spot.

Tell us about your first set of Zipp wheels?

My first set of Zipp wheels I bought with the first money I made. I won a few races as a junior (as a teenager in the late 1990s), and the first money I made I spent on Zipp wheels. It was a pretty good investment.

Peter Sagan has had a tremendous season. What do you think of his future? 

He’s able to win 80 percent of stages in the big tours. That’s pretty rare. There are not a lot of riders who can do that, but for the moment he’s one of them. I think he will get a little bit more specific with what he’s doing in the future. There’s a times when you have really big talents like that, they come over and they do everything, and then they start specializing a little bit more. I am not sure which may he will go but for sure he’s going to be one of the best Classics riders.

Tom Boonen of the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team enjoyed perhaps the best season of his long career in 2012, his first year on SRAM, winning both Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders. Photo: ©TDWSport.com

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