The Roubaix win also puts him on level with Roger De Vlaeminck, the two are now the only ones to have won Roubaix four times.
“I was not really thinking about this record,” the Omega Pharma-QuickStep leader said. “I was working hard to be on my top level in these two weeks. I was happy to be here in good shape and not having any crashes in my lead up. When I won E3 Harelbeke a record number of times, I thought ‘great.’ And to win Flanders, you have to have good luck as well.”
Boonen became the first rider to win the Flanders-Roubaix double twice. His first came in 2005, forming a group of 10 with Fabian Cancellara (2010), Peter Van Petegem (2003), Roger De Vlaeminck (1977), Rik Van Looy (1962), Fred De Bruyne (1957), Raymond Impanis (1954), Gaston Rebry (1934), Romain Gijssels (1932) and Henri Suter (1923).
“I realise that maybe I’ll be considered the best classics rider of all time,” said Boonen. “My career’s not over yet, I’ll see where it ends.”
Boonen won the race in historical style with a solo attack. He went free with Niki Terpstra and then continued solo from the Auchy-lez-Orchies sector, nearly 55 kilometres solo. His gap over the chasers grew to 1-30 minutes under 10 kilometres to race.
“It was a little bit crazy. It was not something I often do, but I think today was the perfect day to take risks. I already had my big win that I’d been working for in the last seven months,” Boonen explained.
“I said to Niki, ‘I already have Flanders, so why not try to win Roubaix in a very special way?’ The wind was not helpful, but I knew it was also hard behind. Then, when I had a minute, I knew I could win.”
Boonen also joined a small group of five riders to have won Flanders a record three times. He holds the record for E3 Harelbeke wins, five as of this year. In the past, he won the World Championships in 2005 and six stages in the Tour de France.