Boonen skips Tour de France


Pharma-Quick Step cyclist Tom Boonen will sit out the Tour de France in order to take part in the rest of the season

Cyclist concentrates on future races

Flemish cyclist Tom Boonen has confirmed he will not compete in next month’s Tour de France, opting instead to focus on shorter races in Belgium and Spain. “I won’t be at the Tour. The team doesn’t need me for the Tour and I hope to have a good end of season,” Boonen said Monday at the Tour of Switzerland. “My love for the Tour hasn’t faded but if I ride the Tour de France, I can say goodbye to the rest of the season.”

The 33-year-old Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider from Mol said he will target the Belgian national championships and then take a break in July before riding the Eneco Tour in August, the Vuelta a Espana, also in August, and the world road race championships in Ponferrada, Spain on 28 September.

Boonen last competed in the Tour de France in 2011, and his last stage win was in 2007. He wore the yellow jersey for four days in 2006. Boonen has five wins under his belt already this season – two stages in the Tour of Qatar, two stages in the Tour of Belgium and the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne race in March.

Flemish agriculture and horticulture

Flanders is an important global food exporter. The main agricultural activities differ from region to region – with pig, cow, vegetable and dairy-farming the most important. In recent years, the sector has been heavily affected by the economic downturn and falling global food prices.
Green - Organic farming accounts for just a fraction of Flemish agriculture, but the sector has slowly been growing in recent years.
Greenhouse - Flanders has been a trailblazer in mapping the carbon footprint of agriculture.
Forgotten - Flemish horticulture’s “Bel’Orta” label aims to promote lesser-known vegetables like parsnip, parsley root and kohlrabi.

percent of Belgium’s fruit harvest comes from Flanders

25 982

agriculture businesses in Flanders in 2011

51 530

people employed in Flemish agriculture and horticulture in 2011