Compiègne (France) (AFP) – The drape will descend on the vocation of one of cycling’s greats toward the finish of Sunday’s 257km long ‘Damnation of the North’ one-day exemplary.
Tom Boonen will ride Paris-Roubaix for the fourteenth time, going for a record-expanding fifth triumph at the ‘Ruler of the Classics’ in what will be the last race of his sparkling profession.
One of cycling’s most established and most prestigious races, Paris-Roubaix is an overwhelming trek crosswise over unpleasant landscape that incorporates 55km of cobblestones shared out more than 29 uneven segments.
Furthermore, it is in this race more than any others that 36-year-old Boonen has made his blemish on cycling, imparting the record of four triumphs to Belgian comrade Roger De Vlaeminck.
He was only 21 when he rode the race without precedent for 2002, apparently in support of his American group pioneer George Hincapie in the US Postal squad of Lance Armstrong.
Hincapie smashed close to the end however Boonen made his stamp with a shocking third-put complete behind comrade Johan Museeuw and Steffan Wesemann of Germany.
Boonen was really scoffed by Flemish fans amid the race, driving him to pledge: “I’ll always remember that and I’ll help them to remember it when I’m awesome!”
He would do that in great time.
Armstrong had no enthusiasm for the works of art and Boonen felt US Postal was not the group for him, so following a year he moved to his present outfit Quick Step.
Furthermore, he never thought back.
His first triumph in Roubaix came only seven days in the wake of winning the Tour of Flanders interestingly and nine months subsequent to guaranteeing his initial two phases at the Tour de France.
He would complete the year as title holder as well. Boonen the star had really arrived.
However, no sooner was that the case than Boonen found an opponent in Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara that would impel both to famous status.
Cancellara rode away solo to win the 2006 Paris-Roubaix leaving Boonen – initially fifth yet who was elevated to second when three cyclists were excluded for riding through a shut railroad crossing – to reflect: “I was inadequate with regards to that little one percent to be on top and, now and again, that is the thing that has the effect.”
– ‘Message to commentators’ –
He would soon have his day once more, however, guaranteeing triumph in 2008 and 2009. After the first of those he expressed: “I thoroughly understand weight, it’s not the first occasion when I’ve had that from the begin of the race. Be that as it may, this time I truly needed to convey an unmistakable message to the pundits.”
Cancellara would win again in 2010 however Boonen was back on top with a performance achievement in 2012 after a nervy breakaway 55km from the wrap up.
His greatest days might be behind him now yet Boonen, not slightest because of his experience, can’t be marked down. It was just a year prior that the Belgian took second place toward the complete in the open air Roubaix velodrome, pipped in a sprint wrap up by the dark horse victor Mathew Hayman of Australia.
A mechanical issue at a vital late stage demolished his race finally week’s Tour of Flanders yet Boonen felt he “had the legs to complete on the platform”.
Be that as it may, he’s steeled to do fight with any semblance of Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, best on the planet Peter Sagan and 2015 Paris-Roubaix victor John Degenkolb one final time.
“I’m not expecting any presents, it will be significantly harder than the most recent years,” said Boonen, who even in the dusk of his profession will be a checked man.
“Individuals take a gander at me as though I had the key to Paris-Roubaix,” he laughed.
“Be that as it may, there isn’t generally a mystery – it’s simply cycling quick on cobbles!”