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Boonen 'preparing differently' for the Tour

Former world champion Tom Boonen needs some stage victories at the Tour de France to regain his status as the peloton's star sprinter. Just like last year, Boonen will try to cross Belgium with the yellow jersey on his shoulders, but hopes to bag some stage wins, something he was unable to manage in the 2006 edition.

"His preparation for the Tour this year has been completely different to that of last year," explained team manager Patrick Lefévère to "First of all he was under less pressure during the spring, which made that period less tiring for him. Last year he was in great shape for the Tour of Switzerland but was already quite worn out at the beginning of the Tour de France.

"So we decided to work differently this year. Although Tom did not win the flat stage at the Dauphiné Libéré, the week spent there was quite positive, in particular because he was still pretty fit at the end of the race. So this is a good sign. It also makes it easier to start the Tour without being flagged as the favourite for the sprints: others will have to stand the pressure. Tom will also be motivated because he will have to prove he is still there.

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