Tom Boonen has been named as Belgium's Sportsman of the Year for 2012. He won a clear victory to take his third title, and it was the sixth straight year that a cyclist had won the honour.
Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won with 658 points, ahead of decathlete Hans Van Alphen (423 points) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) with 403 points.
"Such an award is always the result of a strong season,” Boonen told sportwereld.be. “Now we concentrate on preparing for the new season. Hard work, that is the message, and then the rewards will come.”
He did not attend the ceremony, as he currently in Mallorca for a team training camp and recovering from a severe intestinal infection which put him in hospital for three days. “After my illness I didn't want to risk it. With my health everything is now back in order. Last Friday I had another test done and the results were all good. I can work well again and stay even a few days longer in Majorca to work on my condition.”
Boonen started out the 2012 season with a win at the Tour de San Luis, followed by two stage wins and the overall title in the Tour of Oman. These were followed by a second place a the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and a stage win in Paris-Nice.
He then came into his own, winning the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, all within a ten-day period. He topped it off by taking his fourth Paris-Roubaix only one week later.
The 32-year-old wasn't through, though. He won the Belgian national road title and won the opening stage of the World Ports Classic to take the overall title. His last individual win of the year came at Paris-Brussels, and he won a gold medal with Omega Pharma-QuickStep in the team time trial at the Valkenburg World Championships.