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Cancellara: Koppenberg will cause explosion at Tour of Flanders

By:
Barry Ryan
Published:
December 19, 2013, 13:51,
Updated:
March 18, 10:23
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 19, 2013
Race:
Tour of Flanders
Once Fabian Cancellara dropped Peter Sagan and Jurgen Roelandts on the Paterberg, the Swiss powerhouse went into time trial mode for the Tour of Flanders finale.

Once Fabian Cancellara dropped Peter Sagan and Jurgen Roelandts on the Paterberg, the Swiss powerhouse went into time trial mode for the Tour of...

  • Once Fabian Cancellara dropped Peter Sagan and Jurgen Roelandts on the Paterberg, the Swiss powerhouse went into time trial mode for the Tour of Flanders finale.
  • Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
  • Cheers! Fabian Cancellara toasts his second Ronde victory.

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Trek rider on new Ronde and Milan-San Remo routes

Fabian Cancellara believes that the revised route of the Tour of Flanders will make the race even more difficult and selective in 2014, pointing to the new positioning of the Koppenberg as a particularly important alteration to the course.

After complaints that the three laps over the Kwaremont and Paterberg in the finale had made the race too predictable over the past two years, organisers Flanders Classics have altered the route for next season. The Kwaremont-Paterberg combination will now be tackled just twice, while riders will now face the fearsome Koppenberg just 44 kilometres from the finish.

“I think it will become even harder and more selective. We’ve seen in the past two years that there’s been a selection but not an explosion,” Cancellara told Cyclingnews at Trek Factory Racing's training camp in Benidorm. “The Koppenberg is important because of its position but it depends on who has the legs. The race will be more open but it will also be more difficult, because it’s not just the Paterberg that will make the selection anymore. The Koppenberg will cause the big explosion and then the drama will unfold on the final two climbs.”

The current Ronde finish at Oudenaarde was first introduced in 2012, and saw the Kwaremont and Paterberg replace the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg as the final two climbs of the race.

A winner on both courses – he famously dropped Tom Boonen on the Muur in 2010 and repeated the feat against Peter Sagan on the Paterberg this year – Cancellara is well-placed to compare the old and new versions of the Tour of Flanders, and his preference is for the uneven cobbles of the Kwaremont and Paterberg.

“I like the new finale, because it’s more ‘Flanders.’ Before you did more smooth climbs like Berendries and Tenbosse but now, with the Kwaremont and Paterberg, there’s more real pavé,” said Cancellara.

“The pavé on the Bosberg isn’t like that, and while the Muur is hard, it’s maybe not as hard as the others. But then the Muur and Bosberg have hosted some historic moments in cycling like Bartoli, Museeuw, Tafi and all those riders.”

Not that the Oudenaarde finale is completely to Cancellara’s liking. Like BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet, he would prefer if an alternative could be found to the flat, exposed finale that follows the Paterberg.

“The only thing I don’t really like on the new course are the last eight or nine kilometres on the big road,” Cancellara said. “Maybe they could find a road that turns right and left instead of that big wide road. On the old course, the road to the finish [at Meerbeke] was more undulating, but then on the other hand, I prefer having more pavé climbs like we do on the current course.”

Milan-San Remo

The route of Milan-San Remo also changes in 2014, with the climb of the Pompeiana inserted ahead of the traditional finale over the Cipressa and Poggio. Winner of La Classicissima in 2008, second in 2012 and third last year, Cancellara was a perennial threat on the old course, but Trek Factory Racing manager Luca Guercilena believes he will have his work cut out to win next March.

“Obviously a San Remo with three climbs in row like that favours riders with different characteristics to Fabian,” Guercilena told Cyclingnews. “For Fabian things change, because there are fewer chances for an athlete of his weight to recover, so it will certainly be much more difficult to be competitive in the finale.”

For his part, Cancellara acknowledged that the new course eliminates the sprinters from contention, but he pointed out that the race’s distance, some 300 kilometres, will remain perhaps the key factor.

“A 300km race will always be hard in the finale, so we’ll have to see,” Cancellara said. “It’s an extra climb and it will hurt, but it depends on how the race unfolds. The attacks will come on that climb and the last one, but after 300km they are sort of ‘dead’ attacks. It’s possible that there’ll be a group of two or three at the finish instead of six or seven. But we’ll see. I haven’t thought about it too much.”

 

Cance > TheRest 11 months ago
Can't wait for the classics (and to see Cancellara destroy the rest of the peleton again)!! Just kidding, with Boonen hopefully in top shape it will back to the good old times when it was just Boonen-Cancellara, except for some outsiders/minor favourites like Sagan, Vanmarcke (mainly Paris Roubaix in his case, I think). Chavanel needs to be better than he was this year too. However, that shouldnt be a problem with his new team IAM. Unlike Quickstep where there is pretty much chaos without Boonen to set the hierarchy, Chava will have good support this year.
TheFred 11 months ago
...think I'll go watch in person.
Sean McCormack 11 months ago
No love for Van Avermaet?
Strydz 10 months ago
Or Stybar?
Tony M 10 months ago
Watch for Stybar 2014 will hold fruits !
dsotherby 10 months ago
Sagan an outsider and a minor favorite? Interesting perspective.
blemcooper 11 months ago
I can't wait! Didn't Cancellara's chain explode on the Koppenberg one year, resulting in a DNF for him?
wirral 11 months ago
What about the Doggieberg?
velogeek 11 months ago
Marcus Burghardt wouldn't like that one.
Blakeslee 11 months ago
Bring back the Muur! This was one of the great challenges and visuals of the classics, I can't believe the organizers removed it.
Strydz 10 months ago
+1
PatsyCline 10 months ago
Its seriously a crime this isn't included in the race. Did the Ronde this year [sportive only, of course]. Sure, Paterberg, Kemmelberg, Koppenberg, Oude Kwaremont etc. are all special. [Can't believe how many [drunks] were on the Oude Kwaremont the day before. Went and did the Muur mid-week. That is such a special place. It HAS to be in Flanders, even if it's not one of the penultimate climbs of the race. I appreciate the logistics of where it is, especially in relation to Oudenaarde, but they MUST get it back in.
KubaWinter 10 months ago
Aren't they overhaul Muur and it's surroundings?
Dan Vella 11 months ago
Barring mishap, I can't see anyone getting close to him for Flanders.
Steveo 11 months ago
Bring back the Muur/Bosberg – Geraardsbergen is THE place to watch the Ronde, there really is no other place with that much atmosphere. One day...
babastooey 10 months ago
Cancellara's chain broke during Gent-Wevelgem on the Kemmelberg.
HeadPack 10 months ago
it's going to be interesting to see for how long he can hold that level. His most astonishing performances belong to the past already, back when people suspected his bike had some kind of auxiliary motor. Same goes for Boonen. Hope some young aspiring riders make the race a bit more than a one Luigi-man show. Spring can't come early enough!
yeweshah 10 months ago
Can't wait. The classics will be fierce again. Hope the weather cooperates.
DeeCeeee 10 months ago
Whilst the Ronde went to script this year the P-R was truly epic. Fab's win there was one of my favourite races of all time...