Cancellara Wins Paris-Roubaix

News & Results

04/10/2006| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) takes the win in Roubaix. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) takes the win in Roubaix. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Cancellara Wins Paris-Roubaix

Fabian Cancellara (CSC) has won Paris-Roubaix.

Fabian Cancellara (CSC) has won Paris-Roubaix. The Swiss classics man and time triallist surged away from eight companions to win the 259-km Hell of the North in 6:07:54. After the disqualifications of three riders, defending champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step) took second, and Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) finished third.



At the start, sun and a northwest wind greeted the riders. From the start, the pace was fast. At 17 km, Marc De Maar (Rabobank), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), and Stephan Schreck (T-Mobile) made the day?s first attack. The bunch reeled in the trio quickly. In the peloton, Discovery Channel hopeful George Hincapie crashed at 31 km. He was not injured, but the mishap was a bad omen.


At 62 km, Joost Posthuma (Rabobank), Nicolas Portal (Caisse d?Epargne), Schreck, and Dmitri Konyshev (LPR) escaped. At about 85 km, Marco Righetto (Liquigas), Stephane Berges (Agritubel), and Iker Flores (Euskaltel) set out after the quartet. When the fugitives reached Sector 27, the first of 27 sectors of pave, at 98 km, they led the chase group by 1:20 and the peloton by 2:05.


Frank Hoj (Gerolsteiner) bridged up to the chasers. At 130 km, the leading quartet had 4:48 on the pursuing one. T-Mobile, Discovery Channel, Davitamon, and Quick Step began to chase. At 127 km, Davitamon lost a man when Tom Steels crashed and broke his collarbone.


As the Arenberg Trench approached, the bunch accelerated and jostled for position. In the front, Portal crashed, and in the bunch Sebastien Minard (Cofidis) followed suit. Gent-Wevelgem champion Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) punctured and saw his chances ride up the road.


Boonen led the charge into the Arenberg, with Hincapie, Gert Steegmans (Davitamon), and Cancellara in attendance. Cancellara accelerated and led the group past Posthuma, Schreck, and Portal. The combustion created a lead group of 17 riders. They were 2003 Paris-Roubaix winner Peter Van Petegem (Davitamon); Steegmans, Hincapie, Leif Hoste, and Vladimir Gusev (both from Discovery Channel); Cancellara and Lars Michaelsen (both from CSC); Boonen; Steffen Wesemann and Stephan Schreck (both from T-Mobile); 1997 Hell of the North champion Frederic Guesdon and Bernhard Eisel (both from Francaise des Jeux); Posthuma and Juan Antonio Flecha (both from Rabobank); Portal; and Ballan and Enrico Franzoi (both from Lampre). Quick Step saw the danger in Boonen being without teammates and tried to send Filippo Pozzato forward, but the Italian could not reach the team captain.


The group accelerated, and Schreck, Posthuma, Franzoi, and Portal were dropped. Discovery Channel did much of the driving, and Michaelsen worked hard for Cancellara.


With 57 km left, Flecha accelerated and dropped Wesemann and Steegmans. Ten km later, at Mons-en-Pevele, Cancellara attacked and shed more riders. With 31 km, the pave broke another contender?s heart and dreams. Hincapie?s steerer tube broke, and the American toppled to the cobbles. He has shoulder injuries that require surgery, but Hincapie?s real injuries are emotional. He sat by the side of the road and wept as his chances rode away from him.


Flecha and Boonen accelerated, and Cancellara, Ballan, and Van Petegem followed. For a time, Flecha, Hoste, Gusev, and Eisel were dropped, but the four got back on. With 43 km left, Van Petegem, Cancellara, Ballan, Boonen, Gusev, Hoste, Flecha, and Eisel were still in the running.



With 29 km left, Gusev crashed and took down Ballan. The pair got back on, and Gusev attacked. Cancellara countered. Cancellara and Gusev took a 20-second lead over their erstwhile companions on the Carrefour de l?Arbre, the last hard section of cobbles.


Cancellara dropped Gusev. Hoste, Van Petegem, and Gusev joined, with Boonen, Flecha, and Ballan pursuing 0:10 behind the first chase group. With 10 km left, the Swiss reached a train crossing with a 0:30 lead on that group.


When Hoste, Van Petegem, and Gusev reached the crossing, the barriers had come down. The three slipped across them and continued to pursue Cancellara. Even without the obstruction, however, the Swiss would not have been caught. He led the trio by more than a minute at the finish.


Ten minutes after the race, the commissaries disqualified Hoste, Van Petegem, and Gusev for crossing the tracks while the barriers were lowered. Boonen, Flecha, and Ballan crossed while the barriers were lowered also, but they waited for the train, which had already reached the crossing, to pass. Boonen moved up to second at 1:49, and Ballan got third with the same time.



Naturally, Cancellara?s victory elated him. ?It?s a totally indescribable feeling,? he said. ?I find it hard to put into words, but it?s definitely the greatest moment in my entire career. The whole team has a big stake in this victory because we?ve worked hard for a long time with this in mind.?


Bjarne Riis was unusually effusive about the win. ?This is perhaps the biggest result in the history of the team. It is definitely one of them, but of course it?s hard to compare the different races. In my eyes, Paris-Roubaix is the most spectacular one-day race of them all, and the way Fabian won it shows his great, great class.?


Next Sunday, many of these riders will do battle in the Amstel Gold Race. Who will prevail? Check in at and find out!

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