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13 Boonen's new lucky number

Boonen salutes

Boonen salutes (Image credit: Sirotti)

No paraskevidekatriaphobia for 'tornado' Tom

Tom Boonen has been under some pressure from himself, his team and the entirety of Belgium to win a stage in the Tour de France, and at last, on stage six, the former World Champion got his wish. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé reports from Bourg-en-Bresse.

'Tornado' Tom Boonen earned his first stage win of the Tour in Bourg-en-Bresse, taking out a messy bunch sprint made more exciting for the Belgian when his derailleur was sheared during the run-in to the sprint. The big Quickstep rider hardly flinched, and rocketed to the line well ahead of Rabobank's Oscar Freire and the now former points leader Erik Zabel (Milram). Boonen was relieved to get the win, and unfazed by the mechanical incident that preceded it.

"We tried so hard this week that it didn't work out," Boonen said after the finish line. "With one kilometre to go somebody [Cavendish] touched my back wheel. My derailleur came off when I was on my 11, it made some noise so I thought it was over again. Somehow I was still on my bike though I had to stay on my 53x11," Boonen said.

Boonen took back the green jersey during the stage through intermediate sprint bonuses, but the desire for a stage win had weighed heavily on him and his team. "For other people there's weight off their shoulders as all the work we pulled off finally delivered," Boonen said. "I've got the green jersey again and I'm proud to have won this stage. So everything is going very good as today I found my good luck back, hopefully it stays for a while. It was only a matter of time before it would come though. From now on Friday the 13th is my lucky day," the 26 year-old 'bomb from Balen' smiled.

This year the Belgian press has been quite critical towards Boonen and many people questioned his confidence. "Right now it's kind of OK I think. I don't think I'll have too many comments. I don't know actually because I don't read the papers anymore and that takes a lot of pressure away. It's always nice to ride races because you like to ride races, I think that is the best motivation and not stress or the pressure of having to do this, do that. Having fun is the best way to win races," Boonen claimed.

Read the full feature here.

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