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BOONEN TARGETS LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS

Tom Boonen won his second stage at the Eneco Tour on Sunday but it clear that the road race at the 2012 London Olympics is one of his biggest long-term objectives.

Boonen beat Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia) on home roads in Flanders as the Eneco Tour entered Belgium. He pulled out of the race after his second win to rest up for next week’s Vuelta Espana but revealed that he is already thinking about the 2012 Olympics.

Boonen will likely face Britain’s Mark Cavendish at the London 2012 Games, with the course expected to flat and fast and so suit the sprinters.

“I watched the Beijing race on television and with a lap to go there were still 60 riders in the bunch and I started asking myself if I’d made a mistake by not riding. But everything exploded on the last and only an exceptional Cancellara survived of the riders who are like me,” Boonen told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure.

“As a result I didn’t regret not going to Beijing. London in four years time will be my Games! It won’t be as hot and it won’t be as hard, and with a route that suits me.”

After missing the Tour de France because of his positive out of competition test for cocaine, Boonen plans to ride all the Vuelta to get ready for Paris-Tours and the world championships in Italy.

MARTIN MISSES OUT IN TOUR OF PORTUGAL

Dan Martin (Garmin) lost the best young rider’s jersey at the Tour of Portugal by 11 seconds in the final stage time trial but finished tenth overall, proving that he could one day be a major contender in stage races.

Martin held the best young riders jersey for most of the race but Portugal’s Tiago Machado, finished 5th in the time trial, while Martin was only tenth and so snatched it from the young Irishman.

Martin will team up with David Millar for the Tour of Ireland that starts on Wednesday in Dublin and could be an overall contender because of the hilly final stages to Cork.

ASTANA TARGET VUELTA ESPANA

The Astana team has included Andreas Kloden and Levi Leipheimer in its line-up for the Vuelta Espana as Alberto Contador attempt to complete his set of major Tour victories.

The Spaniard won the Tour de France in 2007 and the Giro d’Italia in May is wants to make up for missing this year’s Tour de France with victory in his home national Tour.

Astana showed their strength on Sunday when Leipheimer won the Clasica a Los Puertos near Madrid. The Kazakhstan sponsored team will announce it’s full Vuelta line-up on Monday.

JUDITH ARNDT SEALS WOMEN’S WORLD CUP VICTORY

Germany’s Judith Arndt (Columbia) sealed overall victory in the women’s world cup competition at the GP Plouay race on Sunday.

Italy’s Fabiana Luperini won the French race, beating Luise Keller (Columbia) in a sprint but Arndt finished fourth. She has a total of 290 points and with only the Rund um die Nurnberger Altstadt left to race on September 14, and with 75 points going to the winner, Arndt and Columbia were able to start celebrations early. Columbia has already secured victory in the team classification. Emma Pooley is Britain’s best placed rider in fifth place with 117 points.

The men’s GP Plouay race is on Monday.

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