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Boonen places green below worlds and classics win

By:
Paul Verkuylen
Published:
July 18, 2007, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 22:32 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News for July 18, 2007

Tom Boonen (QuickStep-Innergetic) is in the fight for the green jersey, leading Erik Zabel (Team...

Tom Boonen (QuickStep-Innergetic) is in the fight for the green jersey, leading Erik Zabel (Team Milram) by 13 points, but says winning the jersey would be "under my worlds win and the classics". Tornado Tom is confident of his chances, but will not discount his German counter part. "Touch wood, but it is looking good," he told Sports Wereld of his chances for the green jersey in Paris. "But for my part there doesn't need to be any more mass sprints."

The rest day seemed to fly by for the Belgian, who finally able to relax and watch a movie, The Godfather of Humour, at 5:45pm. Boonen even enjoyed a glass of Chignin Bergeron during dinner, kindly poured by his director Patrick Lefevere. "It's something that you have to deal with," explained Boonen of coping with Tour pressures. "The older that I get the less rebellious I am against the stresses from morning to night. Without anyone even noticing, the Tour organisers have moved the finish to prime time, and so because of this I don't make it to bed before 10:30pm. But everything is running smoothly."

Boonen is not letting himself become complacent in the race for the green jersey though, knowing all too well that Zabel is still dangerous, having labeled his opponent, then 18 years-old, the "symbol for green at the Tour". "It is not yet done and dusted, Zabel is a scary rider, and it will become a fight of life and death, but well a fair one," said Boonen. "Even if he starts the final day 35 points behind, he will still fight to the end. The German is a strange guy, during the race he won't talk to anyone, before and afterwards sure, but between the start and the finish he is a robot."

Boonen doesn't see too many chances remaining for a mass sprint, therefore reducing the threat to his jersey. "Wednesday in Marseille, and naturally on the Champs-Elysées, maybe two in between," he said. "It all depends on the riders who attack and the teams that want to chase them down to set up their sprinter. Bennati is getting better day by day, I am sure that he will get his Lampre team to ride, just like Milram fro Zabel. Tactically, Quick Step don't need to do any thing."

Should Boonen end up in green in Paris, he says that he would "categorise it just under my worlds win and the classics. So yeah, reasonably high. It is something that I have to fight three weeks for. It is the highest achievable in a grand tour".

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