De Vlaeminck dismisses Boonen’s rivals as Belgian equals his record
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

De Vlaeminck dismisses Boonen’s rivals as Belgian equals his record

by VeloNation Press at 5:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix
Says Boonen must try to win more varied races

Roger de VlaeminckSpeaking after Tom Boonen equaled his record of four Paris-Roubaix wins, former Belgian pro Roger de Vlaeminck has spoken dismissively of the opposition in Sunday’s race,

“I hope Cancellara participates next year - then we see another race," the 65 year old told Het Nieuwsblad. “I knew beforehand that he would be next to me [in having four wins – ed.]. Tom can not help it that this time he had no opposition. They were not second but third-rate riders.

“Take Pozzato: if you want to win, your place for the last hundred kilometers is within an inch of the wheel of Boonen. The competition were no obstacles to him in the race…they could probably not be any better.”

Boonen dominated Sunday’s race, blasting clear with Omega Pharma Quick Step team-mate Niki Terpstra with 53 kilometres to go, then continuing on alone soon afterwards. He opened a lead of around a minute and then held off all efforts behind to get back on terms, resisiting the chase of the Sky Procycling team and, later, of Lars Boom (Rabobank), Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky Procycling) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing Team).

The 31 year old finally hit the line in the Roubaix velodrome one minute 39 seconds ahead of Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) - who caught the Boom group just before the finish – and Ballan.

The victory followed on from Roubaix successes by Boonen in 2005, 2008 and 2009. De Vlaemink took his quartet of victories in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1977.

“For the Belgians, it was fantastic, but for the average, foreign cyclist there was nothing to be seen,” he said. “A sad affair. When he was twenty meters ahead, I already knew the outcome. Tom is the best spring rider of the last twenty years.”

His words about Boonen are complementary, but he also emphasises that he won more than the northern Classics. “It’s for him now to try to win Milan-Sanremo, Lombardy, Tirreno or the Tour of Switzerland,” he said, naming races he took during his own career.

The subtext seems clear; Boonen is my equal, but only in terms of Paris-Roubaix.

De Vlaeminck won six editions of Tirreno-Adriatico between 1972 and 1977, three editions of Milan-Sanremo, two of the Giro di Lombardia and took Liège–Bastogne–Liège in 1970. He also clocked up 22 stage wins in the Giro d’Italia plus three points classification victories, and six stage wins plus the overall in the 1975 Tour de Suisse.

The range of victories is undeniably more broad than that of Boonen, but the latter has wins on his palmares which exceed what De Vlaeminck did. He was world road race champion in 2005 [De Vlaeminck never won that race, but was cyclo cross world champion thirty years earlier], has clocked up six stage wins and the points classification in the Tour de France and a record-equaling three editions of Gent-Wevelgem. He's also got a record five editions of the E3 Prijs, while the older Belgian has just one.



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