Tom Boonen was 24 years old when he won his first Crystal Bike Trophy in 2004. He went on to take the award for the best Belgian rider of the season three more times. Boonen enjoyed a highly successful spring in 2004, winning the E3 Prijs, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Scheldeprijs. He won two stages in a bunch sprint during his first Tour de France. Boonen won the sixth stage in Angers but, to win a second time, had had to do more than just sprint flat out. Boonen and the other fast riders had to cross the Alps to sprint their way to victory one more time. But that final goal was well worthwhile, involving, as it did the celebrated final stage with a finish on the Champs-Elysées. Boonen beat the Frenchman Nazon and the German Hondo in the unofficial world sprinter championship. Boonen is the ninth Belgian to win there since the Tour's finishing line was drawn there in 1975.