Paris - Tom Boonen will be unable to defend his Paris-Roubaix crown as he has yet to recover fully from a bad fall during the Tour of Flanders, his Omega Pharma team confirmed late on Sunday.
"It's tough to have to pull out of a big race like this, but I just cannot cycle," the 32-year Belgian champion said. "The pain is very strong and it is unlikely to get better in the next few days."
Boonen came to grief 19 kilometres into Sunday's race, falling heavily and injuring his left hip and elbow as well as his right knee although no bones were broken.
The accident was the latest setback this year for the former world champion who underwent surgery in January on an infected left elbow.
Last year, Boonen became only the second rider to win the Paris-Roubaix classic four times when he broke clear of the field with 55 kilometres remaining, and he would have started among the favourites again on Sunday.