Van Impe to Boonen: stay calm

Belgian former pro Lucien Van Impe, the 1976 Tour de France winner, says his compatriot Tom Boonen needs to stay calm. Van Impe understands the pressure that goes with wearing the yellow jersey, as Boonen did for four stages last week.

"The rest day will have done Tom good," Van Impe told VRT. "It will be easier for Tom now he hasn't got that jersey anymore; now he just has to keep his cool. He can still get that green jersey, there's still five or six sprints to come, so it's definitely still possible. Tom will have it easier to win when the stages get tougher. He can't give up now, he has to keep going."

The usually irrepressible Boonen's confidence took a blow when he was unable to cap his time in yellow with a stage win last week. "He needs people who tell him that he can still do it," said Vane Impe. "Like his mum wrote on the team's website, in the words only a mother can express, she backs him all the way. It's important for you when you're in such a position to feel the support in your back."

"Concerning the overall rankings: I think we'll see things more clearly in the next days. It's a pity we won't be seeing the guys we really wanted to see in the battle for the Yellow Jersey. But the next few stages will bring some clarity on the abilities of the current favourites."

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