Saxo Bank rider wins Tour of Flanders pulls off perfect win
After winning his first Tour of Flanders on Sunday afternoon, Fabian Cancellara said his next goal is to win all five of cycling's monuments. The Saxo Bank rider described the way he win the dropped Tom Boonen on the legendary Kapelmuur climb to win the Tour Flanders as the "perfect scenario".
Cancellara's opening attack on Molenberg was the turning point of the 2010 Tour of Flanders. Then as he and fellow pre-race favourite Tom Boonen built an unassailable gap on their rivals as they approach to the Kapelmuur, Cancellara surged clear on the final part of the cobbled climb in what was the winning move. He went to cross the finish line alone in Meerbeke more than a minute ahead of Boonen.
With Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo and, now, Flanders etched on his palmares, Cancellara indicated his future goals could include the final two great cycling monuments: Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Giro di Lombardia.
"The last few years I was always thinking about this race. I have Roubaix, I have San Remo, but I knew this one was going to be a hard one to crack and to put in my pocket," said Cancellara, after he became the first Swiss rider to win De Ronde since Hieri Suter in 1923.
"My dream is five monuments and I have three now. There aren’t so many riders in the peloton that have three. My motivation is always geared towards more than one race. Okay, now I have [Flanders], but in the next few years, it's possible I'm going to work on other ones."
The perfect scenario
Cancellara's powerhouse display on the Muur quickly distanced Flemish national hero Boonen. The Swiss admitted that effectively winning the race on the famed climb made his victory all the sweeter.
"What I did on the Muur wasn't planned, even what I did on the Molenburg was not planned at all," he said. "Even then on the Muur it was a small gap – there were so many people there that I didn't really understand how much room I had. I looked back
a few times and pushed a little more. The way I won, for me, it's quite special."
"When I get old and I can say to the young riders: 'I won the Tour of Flanders alone and I attacked on the Muur,' it's a perfect scenario – the gladiator won the battle."
Boonen had been forced to respond to attacks from both Cancellara and his Saxo Bank teammate, Matti Breschel, who had created the first major selection with an attack on the Paterberg, with 80 kilometres to go. Despite entering the race with two strong contenders, Cancellara said harmony within the team had played a key role in his win.
"We had the plan this morning. I knew there was a lot of talking about whether Matti was going to go in the front and it would be like Boonen and Devolder [last year]," he said. "But we knew what we wanted to do and I think that's the good thing about our team, the big strength of our team – that we don’t have problems between us. I need Matti and he needs me."
Favourite for Paris-Roubaix
With his win on Sunday, Cancellara has further cemented his status as a favourite to win next weekend's Paris-Roubaix. With the objective of Flanders now crossed off his list, the ever-ambitious Swiss rider hinted that he isn't yet ready to draw a line under his 2010 Classics campaign.
"The condition is there, I'm not going to throw it away," he said. "For sure, this win relieves a lot of tension. There was huge pressure on me today, which pushed me to stay at the front and say to my self 'I want to win this'."
"Okay, I have Paris-Roubaix next week, but now it is time to relax, to enjoy what I did today, with my team. This has been an amazing day with a great job from the team and all the supporters. I also have Amstel in my programme, but I'm taking things
step by step."