2012 was the best season ever for former world road champion Tom Boonen. Riding for the Quick Step team, he won 14 races, including the Ronde van Vlaanderen which he won for the third time. He also became only the second rider to win the Paris-Roubaix classic for the fourth time, making his break with 35 miles to go and eventually finishing one minute and 39 seconds ahead of Sebastien Turgot of France.
2013 could never quite live up to those high standards. He won the Heistse Pijl and then the second stage of the Tour de Wallonie, but he suffered from illness and injury and was unable to take the start line at Paris-Roubaix for an attempt at a record-breaking fifth victory.
‘Tornado Tom’ was born on 15th October 1980 in Mol, Belgium. He turned professional in 2002 with the US Postal Service team and finished third at Paris-Roubaix that year. He moved to Quick Step the following year, and was soon racking up the wins including the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, Gent–Wevelgem and the Grote Scheldeprijs, as well as two stages at the 2004 Tour de France.
As his results have shown, Tom is a single-day road specialist with a strong finishing sprint and a penchant for cobbles. Over his career, he has now won an incredible 126 races. However, his career has not been all plain sailing – he was not allowed to compete in the Tours of France or Switzerland in 2009 after testing positive for cocaine.