Cancellara cruises to victory in late solo breakaway

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) TeamResult
1Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek4:34:49 
2Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:01:00 
3Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team  
4Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
5Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
6William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ0:01:01 
7Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:06 
8Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
9Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek  
10Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha Team  
11Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar  
12Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank Sungard  
13Svein Tuft (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
14Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team  
15Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ0:02:26 
16Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana0:04:24 
17Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
18Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
19Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
20Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
21Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar  
22Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
23Rony Martias (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
24Michael Morkov (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
25Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano  
26Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
27Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
28Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
29Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
30Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
31Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
32Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
33Joost Posthuma (Ned) Leopard Trek  
34Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
35Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha Team  
36Maarten Neyens (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
37Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
38Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank Sungard  
39Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard Trek  
40Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
41Kevyn Ista (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
42Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
43Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
44Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
45Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team  
46Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard  
47Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
48Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - ISD  
49Leif Hoste (Bel) Katusha Team  
50Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
51Simon Clarke (Aus) Pro Team Astana  
52Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
53Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
54Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
55Jurgen Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
56Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
57Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:04:29 
58Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
59Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
60Aliaksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Katusha Team  
61Dominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
62Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
63Mathieu Claude (Fra) Team Europcar  
64David Boucher (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
65Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly  
66Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
67Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
68Evert Verbist (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
69Ronan Van Zandbeek (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
70Thomas Degand (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
71James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
72Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
73Robert Retschke (Ger) Team Netapp  
74Robin Chaigneau (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
75Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Katusha Team  
76Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team  
77Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
78Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
79David Tanner (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard  
80Kevin Lacombe (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
81David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar  
82Tomasz Kiendys (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
83Romain Matheou (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
84Sylwester Janiszewski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
85Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
86Martin Mortensen (Den) Leopard Trek  
87Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
88Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
89Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek  
90Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
91Roger Hammond (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
92Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
93Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
94Andreas Klier (Ger) Team Garmin-Cervelo  
95Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Netapp  
96Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
97Dominic Klemme (Ger) Leopard Trek  
98Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1  
99Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
100Timon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp  
101Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) An Post - Sean Kelly  
102Mark Mcnally (GBr) An Post - Sean Kelly  
103Hugo Houle (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
104Ryan Roth (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
105Debusschere Jens (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
DNSWilliam Dugan (USA) Team Type 1  
DNFRobert Wagner (Ger) Leopard Trek  
DNFThomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
DNFGorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
DNFJens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
DNFGerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFIljo Keisse (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFAndreas Stauff (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team  
DNFSebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
DNFJulien Berard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFSteve Houanard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFYuriy Krivtsov (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFRomain Lemarchand (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFNikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team  
DNFAlexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha Team  
DNFVitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre - ISD  
DNFVitaliy Kondrut (Ukr) Lampre - ISD  
DNFDmytro Krivtsov (Ukr) Lampre - ISD  
DNFBalint Szeghalmi (Hun) Lampre - ISD  
DNFAssan Bazayev (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
DNFAllan Davis (Aus) Pro Team Astana  
DNFAndriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana  
DNFMirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana  
DNFLuke Roberts (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard  
DNFDariusz Batek (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
DNFAndré Schulze (Ger) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
DNFBartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
DNFTomas Smolen (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
DNFMateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
DNFKamil Zielinski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
DNFJean-Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
DNFArnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
DNFLeonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
DNFAdrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
DNFOlivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ  
DNFYauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ  
DNFFrédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJ  
DNFYoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ  
DNFDominique Rollin (Can) FDJ  
DNFEdwig Cammaerts (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFBenjamin Gourgue (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFBart Dockx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFTony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFKévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFJimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFJimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFJean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFStéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFCheng Ji (Chn) Skil - Shimano  
DNFMartin Reimer (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
DNFAndreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp  
DNFEric Baumann (Ger) Team Netapp  
DNFCesare Benedetti (Ita) Team Netapp  
DNFJesus Del Nero Montes (Spa) Team Netapp  
DNFSteven Cozza (USA) Team Netapp  
DNFRyan Anderson (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
DNFJonathan Patrick Mc Carty (USA) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
DNFMartin Gilbert (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
DNFSimon Lambert-Lemay (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
DNFFabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1  
DNFJoe Eldridge (USA) Team Type 1  
DNFAlex Bowden (USA) Team Type 1  
DNFBenjamin King (Aus) Team Type 1  
DNFAlexey Shmidt (Rus) Team Type 1  
DNFMartijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Type 1  
DNFStijn Joseph (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFJarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFGregory Joseph (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFSjef De Wilde (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
DNFGregory Habeaux (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
DNFThomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
DNFNiko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly  
DNFSam Bennett (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly  
DNFMark Cassidy (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly  
DNFDries Hollanders (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly  
DNFKess Heytens (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly  


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