Tom Boonen takes fourth Kristallenfiets as Belgian cyclist of the year
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tom Boonen takes fourth Kristallenfiets as Belgian cyclist of the year

by Ben Atkins at 4:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 
Near-total Cobbled Classics domination sees Belgian champion see off Philippe Gilbert

tom boonenTom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) saw off the challenge of World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) to win his fourth career Kristallenfiets (Crystal Bike) as the Belgian cyclist of the year, according to its principle sponsor, Het Laatste Nieuws. The Belgian champion, who won the award three times straight between 2004 and 2006 totally dominated the Cobbled Classics this spring, with his third Ronde van Vlaanderen putting him alongside Johan Museeuw as the only riders to have won both the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix three times; the following week he won Paris-Roubaix to equal Roger de Vlaeminck’s record of four victories in the Queen of the Classics.

As well as the two Monuments, Boonen picked up his fourth overall victory in the Tour of Qatar, his third Gent-Wevelgem (which also equalled the outright record), and his fifth E3-Prijs Vlaanderen Harelbeke, taking him clear of Rik Van Looy’s record of four.

Later in the season Boonen took his second career driekleur in his national championships, won the inaugural World Ports Classic, and was part of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team that won the first ever World time trial championship for trade teams. His season came to a close as he played an instrumental role in Gilbert’s World championship victory.

Boonen polled a total of 638 points from the panel of judges, according to Sporza, with Gilbert - who took the last four titles - polling 524. Despite taking the biggest victory of his career to date, Gilbert’s chances of a fifth straight victory were doubtless scuppered by his failure to take a victory in 2012 until the Vuelta a España. Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), who took the Queen Stage of the Giro d’Italia onto the Passo dello Stelvio and - which made him the first Belgian on the podium of a Grand Tour since Johan Bruyneel finished third in the 1995 Vuelta a España - finished third, with 304 points.

Belgian national coach Carlo Bomans was voted coach of the year; Gijs Van Hoecke - half of the World championship Madison team with Kenny de Ketele - was young rider of the year; and to cap a good night for Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Kevin De Weert was awarded the Kristallen Zweetdruppel [which literally translates as the “Crystal Sweat Dripper - ed] as the domestique of the year.

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