Six months after Belgian cycling legend Tom Boonen hung up his wheels following Paris-Roubaix, he was back in the spotlight to present a new book about his career, entitled ‘Jaren van Bewondering’ (Years of Admiration).
VTM journalist Merijn Casteleyn set out in 2016 to interview some riders about Boonen for a retrospective on his career, but the project soon ballooned. According to Het Laatste Nieuws, Casteleyn said writing a book was not the plan at the outset.
“The interviews lasted longer than planned, the list of riders grew. I did not stick to a specific number, but just wrote down names. Ten were 15. Fifteen became 30. Thirty was soon 50. And counting,” Casteleyn said, and the original idea was scrapped in favour of a book.
Casteleyn interviewed teammates, riders from other teams, Belgians and foreigners, sprinters and Classics men from the current peloton and those who have retired.
“That’s when we realized how great the admiration of all those colleagues was for Tom, the man and the rider,” Casteleyn said.
The many big names among those interviewed include Peter Sagan, Philippe Gilbert, Alejandro Valverde, Greg Van Avermaet, Paolo Bettini, Oscar Freire, Johan Museeuw and Marcel Kittel.
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