Tom Boonen says Mathew Hayman deserved his win at Paris-Roubaix on his 16th attempt, even though it denied the Belgian a place in the record books

Life goes on for Tom Boonen after he was denied a record-breaking fifth Paris-Roubaix title on Sunday, with the Belgian posting a picture on social media of him feeding his young daughter after the race.

The Etixx-Quick Step veteran was beaten by one of the few people in the race older than him – Orica-GreenEdge’s Mathew Hayman, who won at the 16th attempt.

While the race looked chaotic from the outside, with an early split in the peloton resulting in the crucial time gap for the winning group, Boonen insists that it was just a ‘standard’ edition of the Hell of the North.

“We had no information,” he said. “We are just racing. Chaos, crashes, flat tyres, and racing the best way. In the race you have no idea where you are, unless you are in the front.”

Many people have speculated that this could be the last time we see Boonen on the cobbles, given the injuries and issue’s he’s faced in recent seasons.

Indeed, the Belgian revealed that he received a text message from the doctor who treated him after his crash in Abu Dhabi saying that April 10 was the date that he initially gave him for getting back on his bike.


Watch highlights of the 2016 Paris-Roubaix


The 35-year-old recovered much quicker than expected and raced intelligently to second place in Roubaix, but was pipped to the line by 37-year-old Hayman.

“He was the rider that no one was looking at,” he added. “Edvald Boasson Hagen is fast, Ian [Stannard] is strong, Sep [Vanmarcke] is good on cobbles and everyone in the last four to five kilometres was looking at attacks.

“When Mat passed me, he was going strong, and I thought he played it smart – Mat really deserves it, after a long time working for others.

“Paris-Roubaix is a race that others can win, that’s not a bad thing, we all tried our best, and we have to be happy with the result we get.”