Tom Boonen’s final professional race

Tom Boonen is on his bike for a final time today as a professional cyclist. The Paris to Roubaix spring classic race is the 36-year-old former Cycling World Champion’s final outing as a professional rider. The question on everyone’s lips is can Boonen go out in a blaze of glory and win Paris-Roubaix for a fifth time?

His fans that had gathered in the Tom Boonen fan village in the Northern French municipality of Templeuve told VRT Sport that they are convince that he can achieve a fifth win in the race nick-named the “Hell of the North”.

For his final race as a professional Tom Boonen has even had his battle cry "Sometimes you don't need a plan, you just need big balls" painted onto his bike.

Tom Boonen’s biggest rivals in the 257 kilometre race through the countryside of Northern France are Oliver Naesen, Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet.

Also a big favorite at the start of the race was the German André Greipel. He will be one of Tom Boonen’s biggest rivals in the mass sprint. Speaking ahead of the race André Greipel told VRT Sport that “Boonen has always had something special, an impressive demeanor. He was always loyal and stayed the same from when he was a novice to being a race winner. I would even go as far as to say that he was a unique person”.