Boonen A Three-Time Winner of Paris-Roubaix
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has joined Octave Lapize, Gaston Rebry, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, and Johan Museeuw as a three-time winner of Paris-Roubaix.
was alone in the lead. Pozzato pursued the Belgian, while Hushovd, Hoste, and Van Summeren joined forces to chase. At the beginning of the penultimate section of cobbles (251 km), Boonen led Pozzato by 0:16.
With five km left, Pozzato was still within striking distance of Boonen. He was only 0:19 behind the Quick Stepper. The Italian ran out of gas, however, and lost ground not only to Boonen but also to Hushovd and Hoste.
Paris-Roubaix is, even more than most races, a test of perseverance. A winner must overcome inevitable punctures, mechanical problems, and crashes on the cobbles as well as fatigue and the competition. Boonen had enough bad luck to warrant settling for less than first place, but his will to win kept him going.
"This was the hardest of my three to win," said the Quick Stepper. "I had a crash early, and it was very hard to come back...and then I rode with a broken wheel for 30 km before I decided to change it. To come across the line was like a dream come true. There is no better way to win Roubaix."
"I am happy to be on the podium in this race, but it's hard that I had the crash on this important point and you never know in a sprint", a disappointed Thor Hushovd said at the finish. "Because of the crash I couldn't win and my arm is still impeded from another crash last week in the Ronde van Vlaanderen.”
The Classics season will continue with many of the riders who rode Paris-Roubaix. How will they fare in La Fleche Wallonne, the Amstel Gold Race, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!