Tom Boonen's reaction

"It will be a "classic" Tour," said World Champion Tom Boonen after seeing the parcours of the 2006 race. "A tour that is very much suited to my style of racing. There will be nine flat stages - ideal for riders with my characteristics."

"The prologue time trial won't be as long as last year's. In normal conditions, I believe I'll be able to finish amongst the first 25 and above all I don't think I'll lose many seconds. At that point I could even fight for the yellow jersey during the first stages that are suited to my style of racing."

Boonen also has a few thoughts on the points classifications. "The green jersey is one of my objectives. After this year's fall and subsequent pulling out of the race, I wasn't able to battle right up to Paris. I'll certainly be trying again next year, hoping to have a bit more luck than last year. Stage wins remain and are always a priority.

"I'm also happy that there won't be a team time trial. My teammates will have to work hard, just as they did this year, in preparation for the sprints. The fact that there won't be a TTT means one less physical exertion giving us that extra possibility of winning another stage."

With regard to a possible winner of the Tour, Boonen said, "Lance Armstrong's absence from the race means there is a vacancy for a new title holder. We'll just have to wait and see who has the strength and capability of gaining this title, title that for years has belonged to the American champion."

More rider reactions

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1