As I continue my spotlight series on prominent cyclists in the sporting industry, the next athlete to focus on seemed like an obvious choice. Recently announcing his retirement after 16 years of pro cycling, Tom Boonen has defined what it means to be a professional. Boonen had his final race in April of this year at one of my favorite races, the Paris-Roubaix – an event that he previously won 4 times. After overcoming the harrowing odds of addiction, this inspiring member of the Quick-Step Team is an extraordinary rider that deserves all of the praise he’s received. Here, we’ll take a look at the highlights from his 16 year career.
One of Boonen’s earliest accomplishments in pro cycling came in 2002 as a rider for the U.S. Postal Service, where he finished 3rd at the Paris-Roubaix. After getting a taste of the solo spotlight, Boonen decided that the U.S. Postal Service team was not giving him the opportunities he needed to grow as a cyclist. He joined the Quick-Step team in 2003 and remained within this program for the majority of his career.
2005 proved to be a winning year for Boonen, as he claimed victory in the Tour of Flanders and at Paris-Roubaix, along with a victory at the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen. While his confidence and impeccable training during this year prepared him for winning the second and third stages of the Tour de France, Boonen unfortunately had to drop out of the epic race after stage 11 due to injuries that he sustained in crashes. After winning several other high profile races in 2005, Boonen was awarded the Crystal Bicycle, the Golden Bicycle, the Trophy for Sporting Merit, Belgian Sportsman of the year, and Belgian Sports Personality of the Year. Quite a feat for someone to achieve in one year…
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