Tom Boonen to race in De Panne despite injured knee

Belgian rider said he needs to get some more racing under his belt before this weekend's Tour of Flanders

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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has a bad knee and he crashed out of Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, but the Belgian rider has decided to press on and keep racing. He’ll line up for the start of Driedaagse van De Panne on Tuesday.

“The [right] knee is still slightly swollen and it hurts, but I really have to work on my racing rhythm this week as well, prior to the Ronde,” Boonen said in a team press release. “We’ll take it day by day and see how I feel.”

The three-day, four-stage race kicks off Tuesday with a 200-kilometer trek from Middelkerke to Zottegem in the Flanders region of Belgium, and ends on Thursday with two rides – a 110km route around De Panne in the morning, followed by a 14.7km time trial in the afternoon. Wednesday’s stage 2 takes the riders 204km from Oudenaarde to Koksijde.

At Sunday’s Ghent, Boonen clipped a curb and crashed, and appeared to be in pain before re-mounting his bike. Shortly after that, he withdrew from the race.

Boonen’s teammate Sylvain Chavanel won De Panne in 2012 and will attempt to defend his title. After De Panne, Boonen will race in Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), a race he’s won three times — 2005, 2006, and 2012.

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