July 10, 2006

Boonen’s last chance to win before the Pyrenees

BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - World champion Tom Boonen will
enjoy a tailor-made stage on Tuesday as the Tour de France
takes the peloton over 169.5 km from Bordeaux to Dax and to a
likely sprint finish.

The ninth stage will be one of the last chances of victory
for the Belgian, who will then have to climb the Pyrenees
passes if he wants to keep alive his hopes of bringing the
green jersey back to Paris.

The coveted sprinters' jersey sits on the shoulders of
Australian Robbie McEwen, who has won three stages of the race.

Boonen has yet to win one this year.

"This sprint will be perfect for the world champion," said
Dominique Arnaud, one of the stage's organisers.

However, many riders will already be thinking about the
Pyrenees as the peloton tackled the hors category Col de Soudet
on Wednesday.

"When you go through the Landes at the end of the Tour, the
peloton is in holiday mood a bit," said Arnaud.

"But on Tuesday, it will be a headache on melting tar where
some riders will have their last chance. It is going to ride

Ukraine's Serhiy Honchar leads the overall standings, a
minute ahead of American Floyd Landis.