What's your reaction to this victory?
It's just pure disbelief. I can't believe it. I broke my arm five weeks ago and I missed all the racing. I only resumed in Spain last week. This is my favourite year a race, the race I had always dreamed of. I did not even dare dream today. I was just riding and enjoying. I saved my legs and remained safe all day. I could tell in the finale that the other guys were also pretty tired. I just played the game and I was lucky.
Wasn't it bold to be part of the break?
Paris-Roubaix is one of the only monuments in which a break has a chance to go all the way. I knew if I was in the break I needed to wait for the finale and for the strong guys to return. I thought it might be Fabian or Sagan. I was just saving, saving, saving and staying out of trouble. When they came back, they had to do a lot of work to catch us. I knew that because for me the hardest section was in Mons en Pevele and afterwards it was just waiting for the finale.
Were you surprised to still be there in the finale?
It's going to take a while for this realisation to come. A lot of things went right for me in this Paris-Roubaix. I have had enough bad luck. I had to wait for 15 years to have my lucky day. Honestly, with one kilometre to go, I was just glad to be there. The worst would have been to finish 4th or 5th. But I had a good feeling in my legs. I had good legs in the final stretch. I still can't believe it.
Did you have ambitions at the start?
I didn't expect it this morning. I came here before with great ambitions aiming at a podium and giving myself a lot of pressure. This time I was just coming here to enjoy a race I love a lot or to help someone if I could. Today everything just came into place. Perhaps it was better not to ride with that pressure on myself. The pressure that they had to win the race I didn't have. Boonen had to win, he could not come second. I was able to gamble and it paid off.
Can you tell us about your fracture five weeks ago?
The doctors were pretty sure that my classics were done. I wanted to get back. I was in my own virtual world, spending a lot of time in the garage on my home trainer trying to hang to the months and months of training I had done for the classics. I spent a lot of time since October working in altitude, away from my family working for the classics. I did not want all this training to be taken away by an injury. I had the feeling that the legs were good but I could not dream for this.
What does it mean to have beaten a rider like Tom Boonen?
Sorry for Tom. I hope you're glad that I won it. I have huge expect for Tom but sorry, I won this.
And to have won this after being in the break?
Before Paris-Roubaix, every team director tells every rider that a break in Paris-Roubaix can lead to a good result. That's why it's so hard to get in the break. I was 8th here the year Van Summeren won also from a breakaway straight after the forest. Also every few years you have a special winner whether it was Stuart O'Grady or Johan Van Summeren for example. But if you look back they're always riders who did well here or rode in the front here. It's a race that gives you a chance to dream. I'm proof.
Can you tell us about the final sprint?
It was pretty surreal to ride there on the velodrome with Tom. We came round the corner I was on his wheel. I still had a feeling that everyone was pretty tired. I decided to hit out and go for it. I was a little worried seeing the 200 metres sign as it s a long way on tired legs. Again I was in a pretty surreal state in the finale. I was strangely relaxed with everything I was doing.