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Cancellara cruises to victory in late solo breakaway

Cycling News

Leopard Trek team leader shows he is on form for the Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Leopard) took a repeat win in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke with an impressive comeback and a powerful lone attack after a series of punctures almost cost him the race.

The Swiss rider bounced back from several tyres and a bike change before blowing the peloton apart on the Oude Kwaremont climb. He then surged away and crossed to the front of the race and then quickly left the lead group behind in the crosswinds before the final climb.

Cancellara’s prowess stunned his rivals as much as his speed and power. They cracked mentally and physically and he went on to finish almost a minute clear. Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma – Lotto) beat Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) for second place but it was little consolation after being beaten so clearly by Cancellara.

“I'm really surprised about the way I won. It impressed me even more than last year,” Cancellara said. “I was really far back on the Taaienberg but I just continued with my plan to make the selection on the Kwaremont; I just went on instinct.”

Many of Cancellara’s big rivals for next week’s Tour of Flanders preferred to save themselves for tomorrow’s Gent-Wevelgem. They perhaps avoided a showdown with Cancellara but allowed him to show off his form.

No early breakaway in a fast E3

Perhaps due to the lack of race radio, there were endless attacks but none stuck during the first part of the race and so there was no traditional early break. At the start of the hills, after more than 100km, a group of eight riders had a small gap on the peloton but the race would soon change.

Stuart O'Grady (Leopard Trek), Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Cervélo), Jurgen Van De Walle (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Sebastien Hinault (AG2R), Aleksander Kushynski (Katusha), Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Sungard), William Bonnet (FDJ) and Benjamin King (Team Type 1) were in the move. After the second climb of the day, Garmin-Cervélo and Leopard-Trek stopped chasing and so allowed the breakaway group to extend their lead up to almost three minutes. But with sixty kilometres to go the handbrake in the peloton was taken off and Garmin-Cervélo put the hammer down while Cancellara was struggling in the back with a flat tyre and a chain problem on the Stationsberg.

After the Taaienberg climb, Haussler continued the team's strategy work with an attack and he powered away with Gustav-Erik Larsson (Saxo Bank-Sungard), Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step), Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Steve Chainel (FDJ) and Vincent Jerome (Europcar).

The chasers got to within one minute of the leaders on the Kruisberg, while the peloton was half a minute further back. Bram Tankink (Rabobank), Svein Tuft (Spidertech) and later Jos Van Emden (Rabobank) and former E3-winner Sergey Ivanov (Katusha), profited from a cease-fire in the peloton to hit the steep cobbled Paterberg climb on the front. On the Paterberg Vanmarcke dropped O'Grady and the rest of the lead group without really wanting to.

“I was riding an easy pace but suddenly I found myself alone in the lead,” Vanmarcke told Cyclingnews.

A few moments later world champion Hushovd upped the pace on the Paterberg, creating some gaps in the peloton. While steaming towards the important Oude Kwaremont climb Vanmarcke gained half a minute on the first chasers with the peloton led by Cancellara, Hushovd, Hoste, Posthuma, Iglinsky, Boom and Langeveld following a further minute behind.

Halfway up the tough climb, Cancellara unleashed his anger. The rest of the peloton blew apart and let Spartacus go. After completing the climb Cancellara picked up several riders on his way to the front of the race. With thirty kilometres to go the situation was as follows: Vanmarcke was leading by half a minute, ahead of Haussler, O'Grady, Terpstra, Jerome, Larsson, Hinault and Roelandts. Cancellara and ten others followed at almost a minute down on Vanmarcke, with the Swiss rider only receiving help from Vladimir Gusev (Katusha).

On the Knokteberg climb, O'Grady realized – without needing a race radio – that he would be of better help for his teammate by dropping back from the first chase group to help Cancellara close the gap.

Meanwhile up front Terpstra accelerated and caught Vanmarcke thus keeping the Cancellara group at a distance. After the Knokteberg Terpstra, Haussler, Jerome, Roelandts and Vanmarcke still had about twenty seconds on the Cancellara group but O'Grady closed the gap on the cobbles of the Varent with 19km to go.

While heading towards the final climb of the day, Tankink attacked coming off the cobbles but a counter-attack from Cancellara proved lethal. When trying to follow him, Tankink was hit by cramp all over his body and had to ease up.

“I anticipated Cancellara's attack but while climbing the Tiegemberg I had cramp so I slowed down. Then Cancellara came and the cramps immediately returned,” Tankink said.

A comeback effort from Haussler faded too and after the Tiegemberg Cancellara quickly opened a gap of half a minute on the chase group. It was impressive work stuff and the Swiss rider extended his lead all the way to Harelbeke. He eventually won by a minute and had time to celebrate alone as he crossed the finish line.

Vanmarcke seemed set to win the sprint for second place but he was passed by Roelandts and Gusev at the line. Tankink finished fifth.

“I should have finished at least third but I couldn't pedal anymore in the final metres due to cramp; I'm disappointed,” Vanmarcke said.

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Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek 4:34:49  
2 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:00  
3 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team    
4 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
5 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
6 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ 0:01:01  
7 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:01:06  
8 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
9 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek    
10 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha Team    
11 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar    
12 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank Sungard    
13 Svein Tuft (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
14 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team    
15 Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ 0:02:26  
16 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana 0:04:24  
17 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
18 Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
19 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
20 Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
21 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar    
22 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
23 Rony Martias (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
24 Michael Morkov (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard    
25 Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano    
26 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
27 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
28 Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
29 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
30 Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
31 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar    
32 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale    
33 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Leopard Trek    
34 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale    
35 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha Team    
36 Maarten Neyens (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
37 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana    
38 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank Sungard    
39 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard Trek    
40 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
41 Kevyn Ista (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
42 Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
43 Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
44 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
45 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team    
46 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard    
47 Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
48 Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - ISD    
49 Leif Hoste (Bel) Katusha Team    
50 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
51 Simon Clarke (Aus) Pro Team Astana    
52 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
53 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
54 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
55 Jurgen Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
56 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
57 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:04:29  
58 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
59 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
60 Aliaksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Katusha Team    
61 Dominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
62 Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
63 Mathieu Claude (Fra) Team Europcar    
64 David Boucher (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
65 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly    
66 Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana    
67 Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
68 Evert Verbist (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
69 Ronan Van Zandbeek (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
70 Thomas Degand (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
71 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
72 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
73 Robert Retschke (Ger) Team Netapp    
74 Robin Chaigneau (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
75 Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Katusha Team    
76 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team    
77 Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
78 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
79 David Tanner (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard    
80 Kevin Lacombe (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
81 David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar    
82 Tomasz Kiendys (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice    
83 Romain Matheou (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
84 Sylwester Janiszewski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice    
85 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
86 Martin Mortensen (Den) Leopard Trek    
87 Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard    
88 Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar    
89 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek    
90 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
91 Roger Hammond (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
92 Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
93 Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard    
94 Andreas Klier (Ger) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
95 Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Netapp    
96 Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
97 Dominic Klemme (Ger) Leopard Trek    
98 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1    
99 Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
100 Timon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp    
101 Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) An Post - Sean Kelly    
102 Mark Mcnally (GBr) An Post - Sean Kelly    
103 Hugo Houle (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
104 Ryan Roth (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
105 Debusschere Jens (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNS William Dugan (USA) Team Type 1    
DNF Robert Wagner (Ger) Leopard Trek    
DNF Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Steve Houanard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
DNF Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team    
DNF Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha Team    
DNF Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Vitaliy Kondrut (Ukr) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Dmytro Krivtsov (Ukr) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Balint Szeghalmi (Hun) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Allan Davis (Aus) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Luke Roberts (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard    
DNF Dariusz Batek (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice    
DNF André Schulze (Ger) CCC Polsat Polkowice    
DNF Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice    
DNF Tomas Smolen (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice    
DNF Mateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice    
DNF Kamil Zielinski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice    
DNF Jean-Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ    
DNF Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ    
DNF Edwig Cammaerts (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Benjamin Gourgue (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Bart Dockx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Cheng Ji (Chn) Skil - Shimano    
DNF Martin Reimer (Ger) Skil - Shimano    
DNF Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp    
DNF Eric Baumann (Ger) Team Netapp    
DNF Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team Netapp    
DNF Jesus Del Nero Montes (Spa) Team Netapp    
DNF Steven Cozza (USA) Team Netapp    
DNF Ryan Anderson (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
DNF Jonathan Patrick Mc Carty (USA) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
DNF Martin Gilbert (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
DNF Simon Lambert-Lemay (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
DNF Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1    
DNF Joe Eldridge (USA) Team Type 1    
DNF Alex Bowden (USA) Team Type 1    
DNF Benjamin King (Aus) Team Type 1    
DNF Alexey Shmidt (Rus) Team Type 1    
DNF Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Type 1    
DNF Stijn Joseph (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
DNF Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
DNF Gregory Joseph (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
DNF Sjef De Wilde (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
DNF Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
DNF Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
DNF Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly    
DNF Sam Bennett (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly    
DNF Mark Cassidy (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly    
DNF Dries Hollanders (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly    
DNF Kess Heytens (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly