Tom Boonen: ‘Winning fifth Paris-Roubaix is the only reason I’m still racing’ (video)

Four-time winner heads into Sunday looking to claim one last cobble stone and become the all-time record holder

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At 35-years-old, and after such a long and distinguished career, it would be easy for Tom Boonen to simply call it quits and take his place as a legend of the sport, particularly with his injuries in 2015.

But the Etixx-Quick-Step man says he has one goal remaining before he finally ducks out of the sport for good: to win a record fifth Paris-Roubaix.

“That’s the only reason I’m still racing,” Boonen says, but he heads into this Sunday’s edition of Paris-Roubaix far from favourite to add to his wins from 2005, ’08, ’09 and 2012.

After a crash in last week’s Tour of Flanders, he had to settle for 15th place, a minute behind winner, and the in-form, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).

Sagan is a widely considered favourite for Roubaix, but Boonen will also face another challenge in overcoming long-term rival Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo), who is aiming for a fourth win in the race before he retires at the end of the year.

Nonetheless, Boonen is the man who’s tamed the cobbles more than anyone else (save Roger De Vlaeminck) and even he doesn’t triumph this year, there’s nothing to say he won’t be back in 2017 for another shot.