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Boonen still hurting

Belgian Tom Boonen

Belgian Tom Boonen (Image credit: Sirotti)

Tom Boonen was one of many to go down in stage four of the Vuelta a España, and he is still suffering the after-effects, which prohibit him from sprinting. "I still really have too much pain from that fall Friday in Zaragoza," he said on Sportwereld.be.

The Quick.Step-Innergetic rider even asked a physiotherapist from Team CSC to come help him, which they were unable to work out. Boonen said that he did not want to let just anyone work on his sore back. "That is a very delicate matter. The CSC physio said that he was surprised I could still ride. Everything hurts, from my ribs down to my knee."

Wilfried Peeters, his directeur sportif, said that they decided before Wednesday's stage to concentrate on Paolo Bettini in place of the Belgian. "His back muscles are still strained, so we did not take any risks with him today."

The stages on Thursday and Friday look to offer additional mass sprint finish possibilities, but it is unsure whether Boonen would contest the sprints, or even how long he would continue in the race. "First we have to look that he is physically in order," Peeters said.

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