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Boonen powers to third Paris-Roubaix victory

  • Story Highlights
  • Belgian Tom Boonen wins the Paris-Roubaix classic on Sunday for third time
  • Boonen powers clear after series of crashes to finish ahead of Filippo Pozzato
  • The race is marred by a motorcycle accident that leaves 10 spectators injured
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(CNN) -- Belgian Tom Boonen has won his third Paris-Roubaix cobbled classic, and his second in succession, with a thrilling victory marred by a motorcycle crash that left 10 people injured, three seriously, on Sunday.

Boonen goes down in the list of Paris-Roubaix greats after completing his third victory in the race.

Boonen goes down in the list of Paris-Roubaix greats after completing his third victory in the race.

The accident came near the northern French town of Orchies, when one of the motorbikes covering the event swerved into a crowd of spectators lining the route. No further details regarding the injuries were revealed.

Quick Step rider Boonen avoided a series of crashes on the notoriously slippery cobbles that wiped out his breakaway rivals, to come home alone in the historic Roubaix velodrome, finishing the 259km marathon in a time of six hours, 15 minutes, 54 seconds.

Italian Filippo Pozzato finished 47 seconds behind in second place while Norwegian Thor Hushovd won a three-man sprint for third.

Following a series of unsuccessful breakaways the winning six-man move came with 46km left. Boonen, Hushovd, Pozzato, Juan Antonio Flecha and Silence-Lotto team-mates Johan Van Summeren and Leif Hoste went clear and it soon became apparent the winner would come from this sextet.

However, with 25km remaining Boonen's hopes took a severe knock when he suffered a mechanical problem, forcing him to change bikes and leaving him chasing his rivals for two full kilometers.

Then, with 16km left, Flecha crashed on a cobbled bend, bringing down Hoste and forcing Van Summeren to wait for his team leader.

Hushovd kicked on but, just a kilometer later, the Norwegian hit the ground after clashing with the barriers on a tight left-hand bend, leaving Boonen 10 seconds clear of the tiring Pozzato.

Cheered on by throngs of Flemish fans, a mud-coated Boonen roder clear in the final 15km to become only the eighth rider in history to win the race three times and the first since fellow-Belgian Johan Museeuw.

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