Cycling: Boardman in retreat for Tour de France

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The Independent Online
CHRIS BOARDMAN goes into hiding next week to prepare for the Tour de France. His selection in his first professional year is the only one so far announced by his French sponsors, GAN.

He is moving out of his Wirral home, and away from his family, in the run-up to the Tour which opens in Lille on 2 July. 'I will not be at home at all. In effect, I am having a training camp so that I can concentrate on preparing for the prologue time trial,' Boardman said.

'The pressure has become too great, almost farcical, now that news of my selection has come out. Over the last few weeks everything has been improving so much it now looks as if I have a very good chance of winning the Tour


The opening time trial is one of three objectives for the Olympic champion whose racing reputation has been founded in this discipline. If he does win, Boardman will be the first Briton to wear the leader's yellow jersey since Tommy Simpson 32 years ago.

He also will ride the team time trial which brings the race to Calais for its trip through the Tunnel for two stages in England. Then there is an individual time trial on the 10th day of the Tour, which Boardman also hopes to contest against the world's best including Miguel Indurain whose three Tour triumphs were based on his time-trialling expertise.

'I would be very disappointed if I was not allowed to race for those first 10 days,' Boardman said, knowing that his team manager, Roger Legeay, will pull him out of the Tour before the mountains, a common practice in blooding new Tour talent.