Sunday 10 April is a day that Johan Vansummeren will remember for a long time. The man who usually has to work for his other team mates in the Garmin-Cervélo team, took the most important victory of his career.
Vansummeren joined an early breakaway in this 258 km cobble stone classic between Compiègne and Roubaix in northern France. With pre-race favourites like Fabian Cancellara and World Champion Thor Hushovd playing a tactical battle in the background, the chances of the breakaway riders increased.
Vansummeren turned out to be the strongest man in front and set up a solo effort on the final gruelling cobble stone section of Carrefour de l'Arbre, about 15 km from the end. His opponents would only see him back after the finish. Behind Vansummeren, Cancellara managed to close the gap on the other breakaway riders in the final kilometres, taking second place in the sprint 19 seconds behind Vansummeren.
Dutchman Maarten Tjallingii took third place while Hushovd, one of Vansummeren's team mates, had to be content with 8th place.
Tom Boonen, who was also one of the hot favourites to win this 109th edition of the classic, first had a puncture in the section of Arenberg. He lost quite some time, and crashed in his effort to close the gap and join the group of favourites. He next decided to abandon the race.
Will you mary me?
Vansummeren's victory was witnessed by his girl friend Jasmine Vangrieken. He asked her to marry him on the cycling track of Roubaix, just after taking the most important victory in his career. "That's right. He will really love me", she told reporters.