Yesterday, after dropping my beloved off at the airport, I rode, as prescribed, for 3hrs around Cap d’Antibes. As I was descending Garoupe for the first time, who should be coming in the other direction? It was unmistakedly Tom Boonen, sans helmet and sunglasses, at the head of a bunch of riders. You might have expected him to be checking out the parcours for this week end’s races. But no, his team mates did that for him. Tom’s obviously benefitting from training in the less inclement (than Belgium) weather down here. I do recall reading in the Belgian press that he’d said he wanted to buy a property somewhere between Nice and St Tropez so that he could train here in the winter months. Tom, if you and Lore need some assistance with househunting, I’ll be more than happy to help out.
As our paths crossed, briefly, two things occurred to me. First, we were likely to be travelling at not dissimilar speeds, albeit in opposite directions. Secondly, we were both in our big brackets. Sadly, that’s where the similarities ended.
Tom’s been quoted as saying that he’s 5kg lighter than he was at this time last year. However, he looked reassuringly solid in his Belgian Champion’s jersey and obviously still weighing more than me. I couldn’t tell you who else was in the bunch with him as Tom obliterated them from my view.
You may be wondering why I didn’t simply cross the road and tag onto the group. Again, two things: I was half-way down the hill, so it’s unlikely I would be able to catch them up. Secondly, and far more importantly, the instructions for today’s training ride are that I should either ride alone or with those of a similar speed to me. Tom’s just going to have to wait a little longer for the pleasure of my company on the road.
Postscript: According to L’Equipe, Tom’s moved back to Monaco.