By Anthony Tan in Schoten
Tom Boonen couldn't have finished off his spring campaign any better today, as the boy from Balen gave exactly what the crowd from Kempen wanted, the world champion's stripes and smile there for all to see as he crossed the line in Schoten with apparent ease and arms aloft to notch his 13th win of the season. The 25 year-old's Quick.Step team was so strong, in fact, that six of his team-mates were also in the break, with Steven de Jongh also taking second ahead of Davitamon-Lotto's Gert Steegmans.
"There was a big crowd cheering, lots of girls cheering..." were some of Boonen's first words. "These are my people, my friends, my neighbours - that's why this race has a special place in my heart, because I come from [the region of] Antwerp.
While his second victory of may have looked a certainty, the world champion said it wasn't: "People don't understand; it's hard for them to appreciate it's difficult to win a bike race. That's my major problem: I make it seem easy.