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Tour de France

Boonen confirms he will not race in Tour de France

"My team does not need me for the Tour," the Belgian said

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PARIS (AFP) — Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has confirmed he will not compete in next month’s Tour de France, according to several Belgian newspaper reports.

The former world road race champion, who is currently at the Tour de Suisse, is said to have other priorities for his year. He last competed in the Tour de France in 2011.

“My team does not need me for the Tour,” Boonen said, referring to his Omega Pharma squad that already has top sprinters Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin slated for the Tour, which starts in Leeds, England on July 5.

“It’s not that I have no desire to take part in the Tour, it’s just that if I did that I could say goodbye to the rest of the season,” he added.

The 33-year-old Boonen has five wins under his belt already this season — two stages in the Tour of Qatar, two stages in the Tour of Belgium, and one in the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne race.

His last stage win in the Tour de France was in 2007.