Four-time Paris-Roubaix winner Tom Boonen has narrowly escaped injury after being involved in a racing car crash.
The Belgian was racing at the 2019 Belcar Endurance Championship in the Netherlands, when he collided with German racer Kenneth Heyer at more than 200km/h. Boonen says the other car “landed 10cm from my head” and claims he was “very lucky” to have come away from the incident unscathed.
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“I passed Kenneth and he came in too early and hit me,” Boonen told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. “The rest is one long crash that could have ended very badly. I don’t think he saw me. The car literally landed on my car 10 centimetres from my head. I was really lucky.”
Boonen’s crash comes the day after he won his first ever race on the same Dutch track, posting a picture of himself celebrating on his Instagram. In the caption, the 39-year-old says that he was looking forward to the race where he nearly suffered a serious injury.
Boonen acquired his racing licence in June 2018 having retired from the professional peloton the previous year, his final race being the 2017 edition of Paris-Roubaix.
Speaking at the time his ambitions to become a racing car driver became public, Boonen said: “For seven years now I regularly participate in ‘Track Days’, an opportunity to ride freely on the track, but as a professional cyclist I had never allowed to take part in a competition. Now my career is over, I have seized my chance.”
Tom Boonen was one of the most successful riders of his generation, winning many major titles with Quick-Step.
He became road world champion in 2005 in Madrid, beating Alejandro Valverde, and took the green jersey at the 2007 Tour de France, as well as six stages during his career.
As well as his four Paris-Roubaix titles, Boonen won the Tour of Flanders three times as well as taking multiple victories in Gent-Wevelgem, E3 Harelbeke and Schelderprijs.