Team Saxo Bank’s Fabian Cancellara pulled off a rare double today in northern France, winning Paris-Roubaix seven days after he conquered the Tour of Flanders.
“It was my big motivation today, but I knew it would not be easy,” said Cancellara. “Everything went right, the team worked so great and I am really proud. I think I will need some time to think about what I have done. It makes me proud to be number 10 and to have won in the way I did.”
The 29-year-old Swiss joined a short list of 10 riders who have pulled off Belgium’s Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the same year. With Henri Suter in 1923, he makes a Swiss bookend of double winners around eight other Belgians.
“I don’t know much about Henri Suter, 1923 is a long time ago and he died in 1975 . I heard from his family and received some photos of him when I won my first Roubaix in 2006. You see now that there are two Swiss riders with the Belgians, in this special week, ‘Settimana Santo’. It’s amazing.”
With 48 kilometres to race and with the Mons-en-Pévèle cobbled sector on the horizon, Cancellara attacked from a small group of riders that included Belgian Champion Tom Boonen. Boonen was the last rider to pull off the double, in 2005, and holds three Roubaix titles. He was the only rider to stay with Cancellara after his attack last Sunday on the Molenberg and was billed as Cancellara’s number one rival for Roubaix.
“In the last week there was always talk of the Boonen-Cancellara battle. I knew we would watch each other closely, but I also knew how good my form was in this last week,” continued Cancellara.
“I was in the front, there was a cross-wind and I accelerated. I was away solo, but I had also intended to make a smaller group with my attack. I knew once I had 10 metres on the others they would be scared, so my motivation was to deliver a physiological blow.”
Cancellara continued to gain time over the remaining nine sectors leading to the Roubaix velodrome. He had reached up to three minutes by the end of sector three with only Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Thor Hushovd (Cervélo Test Team) chasing. Crossing the line, he had a two-minute gap over the two-man sprint behind, won by Norway’s Hushovd.
Next? Cancellara has won stages and worn the jersey at the Tour de France. Three times he has won the time trial world title. After his win in Flanders, he said that will concentrate on wining Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy in the coming years to complete a set of all five of cycling’s monuments, adding to his wins in Milan-Sanremo, Flanders and Roubaix.
Saxo Bank’s team manger, Bjarne Riis, wants him to concentrate on and win Amstel Gold next Sunday, but Cancellara has other priorities.
“I will go to party with my team. This group has been working hard for a long time and next week we will have different guys coming in, focusing no the Ardennes classics. What really matters is to just enjoy the moment.”
Roger Hammond (Cervelo) beat Boonen in the sprint for fourth, making him Britain’s most successful Paris-Rouabix rider ever after his third place in 2004.
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank in 6-35-10
2. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo at 2-00
3. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Team Sky at same time
4. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo at 3-14
5. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step at same time
6. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil at 3-20
7. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha at 3-46
8. Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 5-16
9. Sebastien Hinault (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 6-27
10. Hayden Roulston (NZ) HTC-Columbia at 6-59
18. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 7-05
64. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 14-38
Geraint Thomas in his first pro edition of Paris-Roubaix
Britain’s Jeremy Hunt in an early escape
Juan Antonio Flecha leads Tom Boonen (centre left) and Thor Hushovd (far right)
Fabian Cancellara on the Arenberg cobbles
Cancellara goes solo
Cancellara wins his second Paris-Roubaix, and second monument of 2010
Juan Antonio Flecha was beaten by Thor Hushovd to take second place
Roger Hammond pips Tom Boonen on the line for fourth
Cancellara’s 2010 wins so far…
Tour of Oman; overall
E3 Prijs Harelbeke
Tour of Flanders