Boonen has a heavy fall in Andalucia, Downing gives Recycling a winning start in Europe, this weeken
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM * Currently in the midst of his preparations for the Classics, Tom Boonen suffered a heavy fall the day before the Ruta del Sol, which reaches its third day today. “I hit Nick Nuyens’ wheel and went over the bars, landing heavily on the road, hitting my head and shoulder,” the Belgian sprinter explained. “I was groggy for about half an hour, and I thought with the pain I had that something was broken. But the next day on the bike I hardly felt anything at all.” Boonen was lying 77th going into the Ruta’s third stage. * The British Recycling.co.uk team got their 2005 European campaign off to a great start on Sunday when Russell Downing won the second stage of the Circuit des Plages Vendennes in western France. Downing followed a fourth place on stage one with a strong performance in very blustery conditions that gradually whittled a 12-strong front group down to just Downing and Jartazi’s Steven Thijs, who could not respond to the Briton’s attack in the final kilometre. * This weekend’s Luis Puig Trophy, the traditional curtain-raiser to the Tour of Valencia, will take place this coming Saturday rather than on its traditional Sunday date to avoid a clash with a referendum on the European constitution. The 174km race that carries the name of a former International Cycling Union president runs from Benidorm to Valencia and tends to go the way of the sprinters. Among those starting this year are Oscar Freire, Alejandro Valverde, Alessandro Petacchi, Mario Cipollini, Erik Zabel, Iban Mayo and Roberto Heras. The event starts in Benidorm’s Avenida Alcoi at 12.15 and is scheduled to finish on Valencia’s Paseo de la Alameda at about 5pm.