Cancellara Scores Third Tour of Flanders Victory
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) has joined Achiel Buysse, Fiorenzo Magni, Eric Leman, Johan Museeuw, and Tom Boonen as a three-time winner of the Tour of Flanders.
the pair and reeled them in with 33 km left. Devenyns attacked, and Van Avermaet countered and took Vandenbergh with him. The lead group did not chase immediately, and the pair forged a 25-second lead.
Sagan and Cancellara took turns accelerating to animate the chase. Vanmarcke attacked but could not get clear. With 25 km left, a group containing Bradley Wiggins and Thomas (both from Sky), Pozzato, and others joined the lead group. Halfway up the third ascent of the Oude Kwaremont, Cancellara attacked.
Vanmarcke joined the Swiss. The pair joined forces with Vandenbergh with 11 km left and Van Avermaet two km later. Cannondale and Omega Pharma-Quick Step led the pursuit. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) attacked to bridge up to the move, but the Milan-San Remo champion was too late.
With eight km left, the Cancellara group led the first chase group by 0:20. Five km later, Vandenbergh attacked and Van Avermaet joined him. When the pair was caught, Cancellara countered, but he was brought back.
The quartet played cat and mouse as it went under the one-km banner. Van Avermaet led the group. With 300 m to go, Cancellara attacked from fourth wheel and held on for the win.
Cancellara wanted to settle accounts with his companions before the chase group could overtake them. “I tried to ask Dirk [Trek directeur sportif Dirk Demol] through the radio how many seconds we had because the last thing I wanted was the others coming back,” Cancellara said. “That would have been the end of the world. For the spectators at home I am sure it was an exciting track final. It was man against man, and I just kept pushing to the end. I did it for the team and for my wife because I promised to bring the flowers home. I feel sorry for the Belgians. I was against three Belgians at the end…but now I am happy and it’s time to go rock the bus and have a nice evening.”
Cancellara’s third victory was particularly hard because of the team’s misfortunes on the road. “Since I was alone I knew I had to make the selection up the Kwaremont,” the man called Spartacus said. “On the Paterberg I could not go more, I was dead, and then I had to make a gamble to stay with Vandenbergh, Vanmarcke, and Van Avermaet. I wanted to finish alone, but today it was better to wait for the sprint. Winning solo was the goal--I wanted to lift the bike over the line--but I was not afraid to sprint at the end, since then it is each man for himself. I still don’t know how I did it, I just did it.
“The race was quite intense, quite hard. We lost a lot of riders to crashes straightaway. To manage a race like this was amazing. Everyone did his little piece--Jesse [Sergent], Markel [Irazar], Hayden [Roulston], all the team--you need these little pieces to be at the top of the pyramid.
“It was so tough, I almost got dropped two times when they attacked. I