July 09, 2004
Boonen blames pileups on contenders' teams
Tom Boonen wants a little more room to breathe in the final sprints on the Tour de France. Boonen, who has won more races this year than anyone else but Alessandro Petacchi, took his first stage win of the 2004 Tour today.
Boonen says the sprints are more dangerous than traditionally because more teams with their eye on an overall win are trying to keep their leaders near the front of the race all the way to the finish line.
"It's very dangerous on the Tour, and there are a lot of riders up near the front just before the sprint who really shouldn't be there," Boonen, a former member of Armstrong's US Postal team said after his first win in the race.
"US Postal do it to try and protect Lance Armstrong and keep him from getting involved in any of the crashes.
"Now Liberty, Phonak and Saeco are starting to do it as well. But it's just too dangerous. There isn't enough room for everybody."
For his part, Armstrong blamed Tour organizers for not providing a wide enough finishing zone:
"They had the barriers really tight and there were 200 guys racing through there at 40 miles an hour, so I don't know what the hell they were thinking."
"You're always going to get crashes when it's like that," Armstrong said
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