Boonen remembers love of bikes, his first Zipp wheels
We kept Tom Boonen of the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team busy in our Interbike booth signing posters and talking with fans last week. But we also took a moment to catch up with the four-time Paris-Roubaix winner, asking him about his preparation for next season, our improved 188 rear hub and his first pair of Zipp wheels.
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.
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 groupset?
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.