All Alone: Tom Boonen Etches A Special Place In History With His Solo Paris-Roubaix Domination
“Paris-Roubaix? It would be fantastic to win it after having won the GP E3, Ghent Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders. I am going to try. It is a race that suits me better than the Tour of Flanders.”
That was what Belgian Tom Boonen had to say following his Tour of Flanders victory in early April. The 31-year-old Oakley cyclist must have been looking into a crystal ball because he dominated the Paris-Roubaix for the fourth time in his career. Adding to his 2005, 2008 and 2009 titles, Boonen rode without teammates or competitors for 50km out of the 257.5km race. Niki Terpstra, Boonen’s teammate attacked the field with him at 56km, but Boonen, sporting his Oakley RadarLock sunglasses, was much too fast for him or anyone else to keep up.
“I was not planning on this,” Boonen said of his solo win. “But when I arrived in front with Niki and he dropped off, I was thinking ‘OK, I already have Flanders. Why not try to win my fourth Paris-Roubaix in a very special way?’ I started battling myself. The wind was not really helpful, but with 30 seconds I thought ‘OK, it’s also hard for everyone else’.”
Boonen’s main competition came in the form of a chase pack including his Oakley teammate, Alessandro Ballan, but ultimately, the group failed to organize and truly challenge the leader. At the final 10km mark, Boonen had expanded his lead to over one minute and 30 seconds. With his mind focused on his girlfriend, Lore, Boonen was free to celebrate on the home stretch, waving the number four in the air to signify the number of Paris-Roubaix races he had now won.
A number of Oakley riders balanced out the top ten including Alessandro Ballan in third, Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni took fourth, Niki Terpstra finished fifth, Mathew Hayman came in eighth and Johan Van Summeren took ninth.
With this victory, Boonen becomes the only rider in men’s road racing history to win Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix in the same season, twice. Additionally, he was the first rider to win all four “cobbled” races – E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and now Paris-Roubaix, all in one season.
“I was not really thinking about these records or these victories,” Boonen said. “I was really working hard to be on my top level these two or three weeks. When I look back on these two or three weeks, it’s been amazing. It’s my second double and I realize now I am the only one who did this ‘double’ two times. I realize now I am maybe be the best guy to ever ride on these cobblestones, on these roads. It’s special, but I think I need some time. My career isn’t over yet.”
Congratulations go out to Boonen for his historic victory and unbelievable accomplishment. Keep your eye out for him in the future because as he says, his career is far from over, which he proved in France.
1. BOONEN Tom OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 5h 55’ 22" OAKLEY
2. TURGOT Sébastien TEAM EUROPCAR + 01’ 39"
3. BALLAN Alessandro BMC RACING TEAM + 01’ 39" OAKLEY
4. FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio SKY PROCYCLING + 01’ 39" OAKLEY
5. TERPSTRA Niki OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP + 01’ 39" OAKLEY
6. BOOM Lars RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM + 01’ 43"
7. TOSATTO Matteo TEAM SAXO BANK + 03’ 31"
8. HAYMAN Mathew SKY PROCYCLING + 03’ 31" OAKLEY
9. VAN SUMMEREN Johan GARMIN – BARRACUDA + 03’ 31" OAKLEY