Boonen 'says thanks' with final victory salute in Belgium - Gallery

Past and present riders gather for a last hurrah as Boonen thanks his Belgian fans

Tom Boonen posted a final victory salute Saturday in Belgium at the 'Tom Says Thanks' event that took place at the provincial recreation zone Zilvermeer in his hometown of Mol with a final set of races that included past riders and present stars of cycling.

Among those gathered for Boonen's celebration were world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors), Filippo Pozzato (Wilier Triestina - Selle Italia) and a handful of Boonen's Quick-Step teammates, among others. 

The former professionals took the course first for a 40 minute race, with Johan Musseuw taking the win by millimetres ahead of Eric Zabel. Alessandro Ballan was third, followed by Kevin Hulsmans.

Boonen and the composite cast of current riders took off next, with Bert De Backer throwing out the first attack of the day, which was followed by Jürgen Roelandts, Kenny Dehaes and Petr Vakoc. Pieter Serry bridged to the lead group, but Sagan went to the front and reeled back the escapees. Boonen and Gilbert took off next, but the group brought them back quickly.

With 12 laps to go, Boonen attacked with Maarten Wynants, and again the group brought him back into the fold. Gilbert went next, and Sagan was quickly on his wheel. Marcel Kittel bridged with Pozzato and Boonen, and the final five-rider lead group was set.

In the finale, Boonen surged to the front to take the win, riding alone down the finishing straight and saluting his fans a final time as he made his way to the line. Sagan and Kittel came in next, followed by Gilbert and Pozzato. 

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