Kittel makes it a record five in Boonen’s goodbye race
The 105th edition of this Flemish cycling classic was Tom Boonen's last race on Belgian soil, before his final race next Sunday, Paris-Roubaix. For the occasion, the course of the Scheldeprijs was adapted to take in a couple of points of interest for Boonen, including the school where he went to kindergarten.
For the occasion, the race started in the town of Mol – in the Antwerp Kempen area – where Tom Boonen grew up as a child. His grandfather held the starting pistol; the first hours of the 200-km race included a special passage through the Kempen and the race passed along his former school.
Boonen is immensely popular in Belgium and beyond, due to his past career record (a former World Champion, 3-time winner of the Tour of Flanders and 4-time winner of Paris-Roubaix) but also because he is considered as a nice guy who always speaks his mind.
Tom Boonen as the perfect ‘gregario’
The race itself was down to the traditional peloton sprint; the Scheldeprijs is dubbed the unofficial World Championship for sprinters. Tom Boonen played the role of the perfect ‘gregario’ or helper, helping his team mate Kittel and leading the peloton in the sprint preparation in the final 10 km – next Sunday, he will play all or nothing for a record 5th win in Roubaix.
In the final sprint, Marcel Kittel started at the head of the bunch and was not to be beaten. Jittel already held the record of wins in the Scheldeprijs with 4 victories, but added another one to write another chapter in cycling history.
Flandersnews.be / Expatica