Tom Boonen quits Tour de France
Tom Boonen in the 2009 Tour de France
Tom Boonen did not start today's stage of the Tour de France to Verbier, complaining of stomach problems.
“After yesterday’s stage, in the evening I wasn’t feeling well," said Boonen. "Last night, around three in the morning, I had to get out of bed. I started to throw up and sleep was no longer an option.”
"I wanted to start [today] but even on the way from the hotel I kept throwing up and I’ve got the fever. I had no energy and I couldn’t eat. I’m really sad that I have to leave the Tour and the team in this way, but I just couldn’t go on. It’s probably the same virus I came down with a few days from the beginning of the Tour in Monaco."
The move compounded Boonen's miserable Tour, one in which he has barely been visible. His best result was on stage 11 to Saint-Fargeau, and even then he could only manage 16th.
All this after the former green jersey winner had taken race organiser ASO to court in order for him to start.
ASO had originally said that the Belgain would not be welcome at their race after he tested positive for cocaine in an out of competition drugs test earlier this spring.
But Boonen challenged the decision in the French courts, eventually winning and being given the all-clear to ride just one day before the start in Monaco on July 4.
He had been replaced by team-mate Allan Davis for the team presentation on the Thursday before the race, and the team may now be wishing they had kept the Australian in the starting line up.
Stage 15: Contador wins in Verbier as Tour explodes into life
Stage 14: Ivanov wins as Nocentini clings onto yellow
Stage 13: Haussler braves rain for victory in Colmar
Stage 12: Sorensen wins in Vittel as Cavendish goes for green
Stage 11: Cavendish takes fourth win to equal Hoban's record
Stage 10: Cavendish spoils Bastille Day party to take third stage win
Stage nine: Third French win as contenders content with ceasefire
stage eight: Sanchez wins from break as Tour favourites cancel each other out
Stage seven: Feillu wins at Arcalis, Nocentini takes yellow, Contador leap-frogs Lance
Stage six: Millar's brave bid denied on Barcelona hill as Hushovd triumphs
Stage five: Voeckler survives chase to win his first Tour stage
Stage four: Astana on top but Armstrong misses yellow by hundredths of a second
Live Tour de France stage four TTT coverage
Stage three: Cavendish wins second stage as Armstrong distances Contador
Stage two: Cavendish takes first sprint
Stage one: Cancellara wins opening time trial
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TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 PHOTOS
Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson
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Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
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