Boonen to skip Tour, focus on Olympics

Classics king to concentrate on the London Games, world championships

Tom Boonen will skip the 2012 Tour de France, opting instead to focus on the Olympic road race in London. Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) told VeloNews Tuesday morning that he would skip the Tour, where he has a mixed record, this July.

“My main objective is the Olympics. I don’t think I’ll do the Tour de France,” said Boonen. “I’ll race Switzerland and Poland, and then the Olympics. It’s all really short, the world championships are only three weeks after that [sic]. It will be a very busy end of the season.”

The Paris-Roubaix champ will ride the Tour of Switzerland in June and then the Tour of Poland in mid-July to prepare for the Box Hill circuit, where he will start as a favorite for gold. Boonen pointed to the compact late-season schedule this year, with the Olympics and world championships less than eight weeks apart, as the reason for his skipping the Tour. The men’s road race in London takes place July 28, less than one week after the Tour’s final stage in Paris. Most of the favorites for London have committed to riding the Tour, including Mark Cavendish (Sky) and Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge).

Boonen has had a love-hate relationship with the Tour de France. That relationship has edged more toward the latter in recent years, however, as the Belgian has not finished La Grande Boucle since his green jersey triumph in 2007. His season already made with four cobbled classics wins and the Flanders-Roubaix double in the spring, an Olympic or world championship win would confirm 2012 as Boonen’s best season to date — and make the Flandrian’s year one of the best in history.