BRIGNOLES, France, July 5, 2009 (AFP) – Belgium’s Tom Boonen said Sunday he was more concerned about staying on his bike than sprinting for victory after a crash just before the finish of the second stage of the Tour de France.
A right hand bend just under two kilometers before the end of the 187km stage between Monaco and Brignoles caused confusion in the peloton leading to some riders crashing and the Quickstep rider had to cycle around the trouble.
The deviation cost the 2005 world road race champion several places, but as part of the peloton he receives the same time as stage winner Mark Cavendish of four hours 30 minutes two seconds despite finishing 174th.
“I had no choice but to follow the deviation around the crash,” said the 28-year-old Belgian.
“It’s the first days of the Tour de France and no one wants to take any risks.
“Of course, I want to show I am a sprinter, but I didn’t think it was wise to take a chance and I am just happy I didn’t crash.
“It’s very early days yet.”
It has been a tough few days for Boonen who was only given the green light to ride in this year’s Tour de France on Friday, but was then beset by diarrhoea and abdominal pains in Saturday’s time trial to finish 116th.
The illness, according to Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere, was brought on by the stress of only being told he could race 24 hours after a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling.
The Belgian rider had been barred from the Tour by organizers following a positive test for cocaine in April, but was cleared to race by Friday’s ruling.
Photo by: CorVos Pro