Boonen 'strongly denies' being sick

Contrary to earlier reports by his team director Rik Van Slijcke, defending Ronde van Vlaanderen champion Tom Boonen denies he's ill, saying that it's been a case of mitigating risk during 'training' at the Driedaagse van De Panne.

"I didn't want to take any risks in the lead up to the Tour of Flanders. Apparently everyone wants to win here and that causes serious wriggling," Boonen was quoted on as saying, having failed to participate in the sprint finish for the second day running.

"My goal has been reached today. I could pull through two, three times, another test for Sunday. I hear people say I'm sick, but I strongly deny that. I'm having a bit of discomfort of the bronchial tubes, but that's it, nothing serious," he said.

Courtesy Sabine Sunderland

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