Tom Boonen had four E3 Prijs victories to his credit in early 2012, to make him joint record holder with another rider from Kempen, Rik Van Looy. Boonen accelerated sharply on the Taaienberg (Tough Hill), his favourite climb. Yet he failed to shake the others off. A bunch sprint in Harelbeke determined the winner of the 55th E3 Prijs. Tom Boonen attacked from far away. At the finishing line he just about managed to hold off the fast Spanish rider Oscar Freire and ended up winning the race for the fifth time, shattering the record held by the Emperor of Herentals. For Tom Boonen, the victory in Harelbeke marked the start of an incredibly successful springtime. In just over two weeks, in addition to the E3 Prijs, he had also won Ghent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. That's how you get to become known as a phenomenon!