Another big win for Boonen
Green-clad Belgian Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) has claimed his second successive Tour stage win on the famous Avenue de Grammont in Tours, winning a peloton sprint ahead of Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner) and Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis). Boonen looked to be a little far back with 500m to go, but then got on Robbie McEwen's wheel as he was being led out by Fred Rodriguez. Boonen slightly anticipated McEwen's jump and powered away from the rest to finish clearly in front. Wrolich came in on Boonen's left for second place, while McEwen and O'Grady clashed head and shoulders for third, with McEwen getting it initially before the jury relegated him to 186th for hindering O'Grady.
The day was dominated by a three man break containing Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval), and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r), which went clear after 24 km and built up a maximum lead of 5'40 after 100 km, before it was brought back through the work of CSC, Bouygues Telecom, Quick.Step, and Davitamon-Lotto. Dekker won enough points for the mountains jersey, and he and Portal stayed away until 3 km to go when the peloton swept them up.
Boonen's victory gave him a 20 point lead over O'Grady in the points classification, while McEwen lost a bucketful after his relegation. In the overall classification for the yellow, David Zabriskie (CSC) kept his 2 second lead over Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel), and his CSC team will have the luxury of starting last in tomorrow's team time trial from Tours to Blois.