Tour of Flanders victor, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) goes into Paris-Roubaix with worries. Two crashes in as many days have weakened his chances of a rare double.
In a press conference in Bruges today he said, “I hope with two crashes that all my bad luck is over with!”
Cancellara crashed on Wednesday in the Scheldeprijs race and yesterday while reconnoitring the famous cobbled sectors. In both cases, he picked himself up and kept riding, but the incidents have taken their toll.
His left hip and elbow hurt from yesterday and his right backside is still scraped from sliding in Scheldeprijs.
“I came through the Scheldeprijs OK and then had the other crash yesterday, which was not on the daily schedule!” Cancellara added.
“I’m lucky to be sitting here and looking forward to Sunday. I don’t know if I feel 100 per cent good like last week. I’m damaged from the crashes.
“We’ve tried to get the best treatment for me. I fell going 55kph in Scheldeprijs and about 20kph yesterday. Sometimes at low speeds you do more damage.”
Around 10 photographers clicked away, 30 or so journalists listened in the conference room in the team’s hotel in Bruges.
The team based itself in Hotel Weinebrugge in the last weeks for the cobbled classics in Belgium and northern France. Its location is ideal for the start of the Tour of Flanders, which began in town and finished to the southeast in Oudenaarde.
Cancellara won Flanders on Sunday thanks to a lethal attack on the Kwaremont. He dropped his remaining rival, Peter Sagan (Cannondale), on the Paterberg climb and rode the remaining 14 kilometres solo.
The party was good, but it seems Spartacus has been suffering a hangover as things have not gone right. Sagan stole the headlines thanks to his podium pinch and crashes kept setting Cancellara back. Given everything, Bookmakers still give him the best odds, 5:3. Thor Hushovd and Taylor Phinney, both with BMC Racing, carry 12:1 odds.
“When you arrive in Roubaix’s velodrome you always have damage all over your body, but I’m starting handicapped. I’ll do what I have to do. The team tells me just to think of Sunday, not Monday. I can’t worry about what’s after,” Cancellara continued.
“Without crashes it’d be different, now, especially with the second crash… I can say that I feel bad, but then maybe I drop everyone. Maybe’s that’s not fair play. I’m saying how I feel, the rest I’ll leave up in the air.”
The Swiss won Roubaix twice already in 2006 and 2010. The second victory followed his first Flanders win, adding his name to short list of double winners.
Tom Boonen (2012), Fabian Cancellara (2010), Tom Boonen (2005), Peter Van Petegem (2003), Roger De Vlaeminck (1977), Rik Van Looy (1962), Fred De Bruyne (1957), Raymond Impanis (1954), Gaston Rebry (1934), Romain Gijssels (1932) and, the only non-Belgian, Henri Suter (1923).
Fabian Cancellara talks to the press. Photo by Gregor Brown