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Tom Boonen returns to cycling with role at career-long rivals

Joe Robinson
22 Feb 2018

A role as shareholder and advisor to the Lotto-Soudal team awaits for the Spring Classics legend

Tom Boonen is set to make his return to cycling less than a year after retiring as it was announced that the Belgian would joing forces with Lotto-Soudal as a shareholder and advisor to the team. 

The four-time Paris-Roubaix champion will join the WorldTour team as a 'captain of cycling', looking to secure funding for the team and the Belgian national team, while also advising on the technology used by the riders.

It is said Boonen will also be expected to offer his vast experience to the team throughout the year.

This move initially comes as a surprise considering the Lotto-Soudal team were the arch rivals of Boonen throughout his illustrious career as he rode for the fellow Belgian WorldTour team Quick-Step Floors.

While the Lotto-Soudal team did express an interest in signing the Classics specialist, a move never materialised with the rider seeing out his career at Quick-Step Floors after 15 seasons with the team.

However despite the rivalry, as reported by Het Nieuwsbladthe role makes logical sense. The Lotto team are supplied bikes by Belgium's biggest bike brand Ridley, bikes that were used by Boonen early in his career.

Additionally, since retirement, Boonen has taken to motor car racing often sharing the vehicle with Belgian race driver Anthony Kumpen, son of Paul Kumpen, 50% shareholder in Ridley bikes.

'Tornado Tom's' sudden return to the sport of cycling will undoubtedly be welcomed by the Lotto-Soudal team which has struggled to perform in Spring Classics, a series of races critically important to the Belgian team.

The team are yet to win a major Spring Classic since Nico Mattan's Gent-Wevelgem victory in 2006.

Very few riders will be able to offer knowledge of the cobbled Classics like Boonen and hopefully his input will produce a turn of fortunes for the likes of Tiesj Benoot, Jens Keukeleire and Andre Greipel.

The team will be hoping this announcement will give them a boost ahead of the opening weekend of the Spring Classics which kicks off on Saturday with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.