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Tom Boonen wins third Paris-Roubaix

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2005.  2008.  And now, 2009 makes three.

“This victory for me is the most beautiful because I beat Pozzato, who is a great champion,” Tom Boonen said of  2nd place finisher Filippo Pozzato, who finished 47 seconds back.  Thor Hushovd rounded out the top three 1:17 back.

Hincapie, who was up among classics elite, punctured one of of the cobble sections and got caught up behind a wreck when a motorcycle lost control and hit some of the spectators (hit “more” to see the video).  From there, he wasn’t able to catch up to the lead group despite a solid effort.  Just as he closed the chase gap to about a minute, the leaders, including Boonen, attacked with more than 45K to go and put an end to his dreams of winning the Paris-Roubaix this year.

“It’s really unfortunate, it was a similar situation to last year,” Hincapie told VeloNews. “When I got back, they started attacking.”

Of the 238 riders on the start list, 187 left the gate at Compiègne, and only about 100 finished the race.  The “Big Belgian” rode through hometown crowds of fellow countrymen lining the streets and going nuts in the final few kliks before rolling into the Roubaix velodrome for a “victory” lap before Pozzato entered the arena.

Hit “more” for several videos from the race…

Photo: Agence France Presse

Motorcycle camera crew loses control and hits crowd.  Several people, including a four-year-old, are seriously injured.

Hushovd and Flecha wreck around a slippery cobblestone corner.

Pile up on the cobbled Arenburg road shows why this race is called the ‘Hell of the North’ and then some.

Boonen takes it home over the last kilometer.

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