Boonen looks to Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana

Gent-Wevelgem: Tom Boonen (Quick Step) sprints to victory.

Gent-Wevelgem: Tom Boonen (Quick Step) sprints to victory. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is hoping for a problem-free Tour de France, his first in several years. However, the former world champion may not contest mass sprints in July.

Boonen won two stages in the 2007 Tour de France on his way to taking the green jersey. The next year he was held out of the race after a positive test for cocaine. Another cocaine positive almost kept him out of the 2009 race, but legal efforts allowed him to start, although he dropped out after 14 stages. Knee problems resulting in surgery kept him out of the 2010 Tour.

“I want to ride the Tour, because I feel I need it after my knee injury last year,” he told “Because of that, I need an extra big stage race to get in better shape for the Vuelta, so that I can be in top shape for the Worlds. I think I'll go for a stage win if I get the chance.”

That stage win may not be a mass sprint, though. “I don't know if I want to ride sprints again. I still have the chance. I rode some good sprints in recent weeks and months. But the power struggles scare me. It seems to me there are too many crashes.”

At the end of August Boonen will take on the Vuelta a Espana, where he has won two stages in his career, riding it as preparation for September's world championships in Copenhagen. “It's because it is the best preparation. You get three weeks with the team, a massage every day, hard racing every day. So it's the best way.”

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