Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) will restart his Classics campaign after Milan-San Remo with a lengthy drive from Switzerland to Belgium after bombings at Brussels' Zaventem airport shut down options for mass transit. The 35-year-old Swiss triple winner of both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix is not racing Dwars door Vlaanderen, but will take part in E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem this week.
Cancellara's original plan was to take a train to Belgium on Wednesday, but transit snares meant driving was a better option. Trek-Segafredo directeur sportif Dirk Demol said Cancellara will drive with teammate Gregory Rast and soigneur Sabine Lüber after a final training ride at home.
"Sabine was there and Greg also has to complete a last training. Then they'll drive over here. It's probably a seven hour drive. Maybe it was possible to find something in Ostend or Charleroi but if it's Paris or Amsterdam then you have to add a three hour car drive too. That's why we opted to get a shower after the training ride and drive off."
Devolder with increasing form
Demol was pleased that Dwars door Vlaanderen wasn't cancelled, because that could have extended to E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, meaning riders would arrive at the Tour of Flanders without much racing in their legs.
Demol said that Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner Jasper Stuyven and last year's runner-up Edward Theuns were the team leaders in Dwars door Vlaanderen. The duo are the up-and-coming riders for the northern classics in the Trek-Segafredo team but Demol surely still counts on 36 year-old Stijn Devolder for Flanders and Roubaix. Devolder won the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2008 and 2009.
When asked how Devolder was going Demol put his arm upward, indicating an inclining graph. "He's been very sick [during the Belgian opening weekend]. For two days he had fever. I told him that for every day with fever he had to stay inside for two days. My words didn't help. He trained too hard while his body wasn't recovered yet. That way he had a kickback. After the Strade Bianche he was very downhearted but I told him to ride Tirreno and saw him improving. The last few days we've been training hard, also behind the scooter. We're working on it. It's still two weeks to Flanders and three weeks to Roubaix," Demol said.
Devolder himself was confident he would be ready in time for the big races. "It's no fun to encounter sickness but I'm going much better now. These are the races that matter and there's only a few weeks time to perform. This week is an important training week," Devolder said while lining up at the start of Dwars door Vlaanderen.