Tom Boonen will begin his final season as a professional in South America at the Vuelta a San Juan, Quick-Step Floors team announced.
For the first time in history, Vuelta a San Juan – a race created in 1982 – has a 2.1 classification, which means World Tour teams can come to the start.
“I’ve started the season several times in Argentina, but last year I couldn’t be there unfortunately due to the crash in Abu Dhabi,” said Boonen. “In my opinion, Argentina is one of the best places to kick off the season thanks to the great temperatures, good roads, and spectators who always give you a warm welcome. And also the parcours is something I like, because is well-balanced. That’s why I’m really looking forward to race San Juan.”
While the race may be suited for him, the goal is preparation for Paris-Roubaix, the final race of his career.
“I will try to get a victory but I don’t want to take many risks due to my big goal in April and because we have a great sprinter like Fernando Gaviria in the team who is in charge to take the final sprint.”
The seven-time Monument winner will be joined in South America by Colombian youngster and best neo-pro of the 2016 season Fernando Gaviria, who announced his arrival on cycling’s biggest scene in Argentina two years ago, French neo-pro Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, home fans’ favourite Maximiliano Richeze and Pieter Serry.
“We can’t wait to go to Vuelta a San Juan and discover this part of Argentina,” said sport director Davide Bramati. “We’ve always felt at home in this country and we hope to enjoy other beautiful moments there. Our team is a strong one and we make no secret of the fact that we want to win at least one stage with Fernando.”