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Green tornado churns through Castres

Brecht Decaluwé in Castres
July 21, 2007, 1:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:08 BST
Tour de France Cycling News for July 21, 2007
Tom Boonen on the podium

Tom Boonen on the podium

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The bright green clad figure of Quick.Step's star sprinter Tom Boonen raged through the peloton in...

The bright green clad figure of Quick.Step's star sprinter Tom Boonen raged through the peloton in Castres as 'tornado Tom' took another stage win, all but shattering the hopes of South-African Robert Hunter and veteran Erik Zabel for the points classification. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwè was in the eye of the storm.

After grabbing his second stage win in this Tour de France on stage 12 - the sixth in his career - the Belgian seems to be cruising towards the overall win of the points classification. Just before the first time trial Boonen now has a lead of 20 points on Hunter and one point more on Zabel, but the Belgian insisted that the gap isn't secure just yet. "If Zabel would've been in the first group yesterday [stage 11] then the green jersey could've been gone," Boonen admitted.

The Belgian warned those who felt the battle for the green jersey was already over to keep watching. "The battle for green isn't a fair one, you have to work so hard for it but without a little luck you can't keep it. That's why you have to work for every point you can get," Boonen explained

Boonen's bad luck could have put paid to his hopes of keeping the jersey after he was involuntary held up by the crash in the final corner of stage eleven while riding in perfect position, and he was lucky his competitors missed the split and came in behind him. "I hope a situation like yesterday will not happen anymore because that's not acceptable for me," the 26 year-old said. "If that works out and I'm a little lucky then I have a good chance, but for sure I'll have to battle until Paris."

Boonen didn't hide his ambitions and felt he deserved the green jersey. "I know that I'm faster than Zabel and Hunter but without luck it's not possible to keep the green jersey, although with today's victory the motivation is perfect."

Read the full feature here.

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