Sun, Jul 15, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Boonen takes sixth stage of Tour after sprint finish


Belgium's Tom Boonen won Friday's sixth stage of the Tour de France in a sprint finish, while Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara retained the leader's yellow jersey for a seventh straight day.

Boonen won the 199.5km trek from the Burgundy town of Semur-en-Auxois toward the foot of the Alps in Bourg-en-Bresse. Friday's was the last stage before three days in the Alps.

Boonen, a former world champion, collected his fifth Tour stage victory and his first since 2005 by outpacing Spain's Oscar Freire and German Erik Zabel in the final dash.

"I'm really happy," Boonen said. "The legs have been strong from the first day, but this year things haven't happened so well. I haven't had a lot of luck."

"Friday the 13th from now on is a lucky day," he said.

Cancellara finished in the trailing pack, and holds a 33-second lead over Germany's Andreas Kloeden in second. Filippo Pozzato of Italy is third, 35 seconds behind.

Kloeden and his Astana teammate Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan, both seen as potential title contenders, cruised in the back of the pack to nurse painful injuries sustained in crashes during on Thursday's ride through hilly terrain.

Britain's Bradley Wiggins took the spotlight for most of the stage, breaking away after 2km and building a lead of more than 17 minutes before the pack caught him during the last 7km.

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