Tom Boonen took his third Paris-Roubaix victory in five editions yesterday, powering away on the Carrefour de l’Arbre section of pavé after two of his main rivals, Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) and Thor Hushovd (Cervélo) crashed.
Boonen formed part of a six man break that went clear with around 45 kilometres to go.
He then opened up a solo lead after the Carrefour de l’Arbre after crashes hampered the chase group’s progress. Juan Antonio Flecha fell on a left-hand turn, causing Leif Hoste to crash and Johan van Summeren (both Silence-Lotto) to be delayed.
Thor Hushovd tried to follow Boonen, but went wide on a corner; he touched the barrier, tried to unclip but flew over the handlebars in spectacular fashion. The impetus was then down to Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), who did his best to catch the Belgian but it proved impossible, with the gap growing and growing after losing a handful of seconds to the commotion caused by Hushovd’s crash. The battle-scarred Norwegian eventually finished third.
For Quick Step, Boonen?s success mirrors the team’s 2008 Classics campaign. Just like last year, Stijn Devolder won the Tour of Flanders and Boonen followd that up with a victory in Paris-Roubaix.
Roger Hammond (Cervélo) finished 15th after losing contact with around 60 kilometres to go at the second feed zone. His team-mate Jeremy Hunt led in a small group for 19th place, whilst Bradley Wiggins (Garmin), despite crashing, finished 25th.
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 6-15-53
2. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha at 0-47
3. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo Test Team
4. Leif Hoste (Bel) Silence-Lotto both at 1-17
5. Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence-Lotto at 1-22
6. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Rabobank at 2-14
7. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo Test Team at 3-13
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step at 3-15
9. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas at 5-00
10. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank at 5-29
15. Roger Hammond (GBR) Cervélo Test Team at 6-15
19. Jeremy Hunt (GBR) Cervélo Test Team
25. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) Garmin both at 6-32
Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) in the lead break in Paris Roubaix. A crash put an end to the sprinter’s chances. Picture by Graham Watson
The Paris Roubaix Peloton cuts through the fields of northern France. Picture by Graham Watson