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Tom Boonen finished second in the bunch gallop of the Dauphiné Libéré's opening stage behind...
Tom Boonen finished second in the bunch gallop of the Dauphiné Libéré's opening stage behind surprise winner Heinrich Haussler of Gerolsteiner. The 2005 World Champion didn't really mind too much, and said of the winner, "that boy has won the easiest sprint of his life."
Boonen was only three seconds behind race leader Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) going into the stage, and normally a second-place finish should have given him enough time bonuses to move into the lead. But the Dauphiné stage featured no intermediate sprints, and therefore no time bonuses at the finish.
"Under the UCI rules, you can't offer time bonuses if there are no intermediate sprints," race director Charly Mottet told Sportwereld.be. "For the intermediate sprints, there have to be few or no impediments, such as traffic circles, in the preceding five kilometres, and I couldn't guarantee that."
The Belgian wasn't really disappointed at not taking over the lead. "You have a leader's jersey like that for only one day. And then you have to wait around for the protocol, the doping control and so on and so on. I want to be able to prepare myself quietly here for the Belgian Championship and the Tour."
He does not anticipate another mass sprint in today's stage, with mountain only 15 kilometres before the finish. "If I can sprint, I will. But it's not a must."