Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) confirmed his superiority in the spring classics with a record equaling fourth Paris-Roubaix victory that extended his lead in the individual UCI WorldTour rankings.
Boonen also became the first rider to ever win the E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix in the same season and joined Roger De Vlaeminck as the only four-time Paris-Roubaix winners.
The powerful Belgian started the race as the number one favourite but shrugged off the pressure and turned the tables on his rivals with a solo attack more from 50km from the finish. It appeared a risky move but Boonen dug deep and gradually carved out an unbeatable lead, producing one of the most dominant victories ever seen in the 110-year history of Paris-Roubaix.
Boonen scored 100 UCI WorldTour points to extended his total to a massive 366 points. Milan-Sanremo winner Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge Cycling Team) is a distant second with 210 points, and Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco winner Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is third with 208 points.
Boonen had time to hold four fingers aloft to celebrate his fourth victory as he rolled around the Roubaix velodrome. Sébastien Turgot (Team Europcar) won the close sprint for second place, 1:39 behind Boonen, just getting the better of Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing Team).
“I knew it was the right day to do something special. I went for it and I paid off,” Boonen explained.
“My legs were good and after the great things I’ve done in the last two weeks, I was confident of pulling it off. I wanted to do something extraordinary to mark my fourth Paris-Roubaix victory. I think I did it.”
Boonen attacked with teammate Niki Terpstra with 60km to go. After a few minutes Boonen then charged on alone, while Terpstra dropped back to help control their rivals in the chasing peloton. Few riders have won Paris-Roubaix from so far out but Boonen paced his effort superbly. He pushed on over the cobbled sectors, carefully choosing his race line. He then eased slightly on the road sectors and rode in a tucked aerodynamic position. His lead grew constantly as the kilometres came down and the strength and motivation of his rivals faded to nothing. It was a show of class and superiority.
“When I went, I told myself it’s really far but behind they were all fighting
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