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Boonen hospitalized after Eneco Tour crash

The Belgian was eating during Thursday's stage 4 when he hit a pothole and went down.

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BRUSSELS (AFP) — Belgium’s Tom Boonen was forced to pull out of the Eneco Tour after a heavy fall on Thursday’s fourth stage.

The 35-year-old Etixx – Quick-Step rider was eating when his front wheel hit a pothole in the road some 50 kilometers into the 202km stage between Aalter and St-Pieters-Leeuw.

“The wheel came off and Tom fell,” Etixx manager Patrick Lefevere said. “As my rider felt groggy, the decision was immediately taken to transport him to hospital for more tests.”

Boonen, a sprint specialist and winner of many one-day races, was using the Eneco Tour as warmup race for next month’s UCI Road World Championships in Qatar — where he had been expected to lead the Belgium team.

Etixx first confirmed the news about Boonen’s abandonment on its Twitter feed:

[twitter url=”https://twitter.com/Etixx_QuickStep/status/778915966478606337″ align=”center”]