Tom Boonen going for green again at Tour de France

QuickStep teammate Bettini out of Amstel Gold Race

Belgium's 2005 world road race champion Tom Boonen said on Tuesday he was going to focus all his efforts on retaining his Tour de France green points jersey this year.

The 27-year-old, fresh from winning his second Paris-Roubaix classic on Sunday, said he was going to take around 10 days rest after Wednesday's Escaut Grand Prix.

"I need to relax on the days following the Paris-Roubaix," said Boonen, who has won six stages on the Tour de France. "You need to let the muscles relax after such a race. "It's clear that I haven't recovered completely after the tension of Sunday. It will take me some more time, that is normal."

Boonen said that in order to win the green jersey on the Tour he would have to have a good first week.

"Now, the next big target, is the green jersey," he added. "All will depend on the first week. If I can collect enough points then there will be a good chance. After that, the world road race course at Varese (Italy) will suit me well.

"Certain riders said they have found it hard? You can never compare looking over a course with the race itself."

Boonen is expected to compete in the Tour of Belgium and the Dauphine Libere after he has returned from his rest.

Bettini out of Amstel Gold Race

Boonen's QuickStep teammate, Italy's Olympic road race champion Paolo Bettini, was ruled out on Tuesday of the Amstel Gold Race, which takes place in the Netherlands on Sunday.

The 34-year-old two-time world road race champion has not recovered from the fractured rib he suffered last Thursday in the Tour of the Basque Country.

According to his QuickStep team he hopes to be back for the Tour of Trentino, which runs from April 22-25, and be fully race fit for the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic on April 27.

© BikeRadar & AFP 2008 

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