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Boonen wins his fourth Crystal Bike award

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Tom Boonen shows his Kristallen Fiets trophy

Tom Boonen shows his Kristallen Fiets trophy (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Tom Boonen won the 2012 Kristallen Fiets award as best rider of the year

Tom Boonen won the 2012 Kristallen Fiets award as best rider of the year (Image credit: AFP Photo)

Tom Boonen won Belgium's Kristallen Fiets (Crystal Bike) award for rider of the year. The Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider won the voting of team directors and journalists surveyed by Het Laatste Nieuws by more than 100 ballots over world champion Philippe Gilbert. Thomas De Gendt came in third.

It is the fourth time that Boonen has been given the award. He previously won it over three consecutive years in 2004-2006.

Boonen had a spectacular first half of 2012, winning a stage of the Tour de San Luis and one stage and the overall at Tour of Qatar before heading back to Belgium for his Classics campaign.

He kicked off the European season with a narrow second place in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to Garmin's Sep Vanmarcke before moving on to Paris-Nice, where he took one stage win.

Having no luck at Milan-Sanremo, Boonen got revenge by sweeping nearly all of the Belgian Classics: he won the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke in a sprint over Oscar Freire and Bernhard Eisel, dispatched Filippo Pozzato and Alessandro Ballan to win the Tour of Flanders, and then capped off his spring with a commanding solo victory in Paris-Roubaix.

After winning his national road title, Boonen chose to skip the Tour de France in order to focus on the Olympic Games and World Championships. While things did not go his way in the road races at these events, he was part of the gold medal winning Omega Pharma team for the inaugural team time trial world championship.

He also won the new World Ports Classic two-stage race and Paris-Bruxelles.

Boonen's teammate Kevin De Weert was given the Kristallen Zweetdruppel (Crystal Sweat Bead) award for best domestique. He won the tally over Jürgen Roelandts and Dries Devenyns.