Cancellara crowned king of the cobbled Classics

Swiss master completes Flanders-Roubaix double

Fabian Cancellara stamped his absolute authority on the 2010 Classics season as he claimed his second Paris-Roubaix title in France on Sunday afternoon. In a sublime display, the Swiss champion simply rode his rivals off his wheel near the Mons-en-Pévèle sector, with still more than 50 kilometres-to-go. A little over an hour later he rode solo into the velodrome at Roubaix.

The peloton had held a minutes silence at the start of the race in Compiegne to honour the memory of two-time winner Franco Ballerini. After securing his first Tour of Flanders/Paris-Roubaix double, Cancellara paid his own homage to the man with whome he will now forever share the honour of multiple Roubaix titles.

"I wanted the double, I wanted to do something that left a mark in the history of cycling," said Cancellara after his win. "Many great riders have won this race and it’s an honour for me to now have won it twice like the late Franco Ballerini did. That's just one of the reasons why I wanted to do the double."

For the second week in a row, Cancellara was in a class of his own. The E3 Prijs-Harelbeke and Tour of Flanders Champion's race-winning surge gave way to a more than hour-long time trial, which, at points, saw him put three minutes into a select group of the best Classics riders on the planet.

"I hadn't planned to attack in that moment," said Cancellara, echoing his comments after Flanders a week prior. "But that's racing, it's important to seize the right moment and I got it exactly right. When I went, the gap was there and it was increasing, so I went full gas but with a little left just in case because there was a long way to go. But I made it."

Of those left in his wake, Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) proved the strongest as they rode clear of a six-man chase group on the Carrefour de l’Arbre sector of pavé to secure second and third.

Behind them, the chase group also fractured under the strain of almost 250 kilometres of racing. Hushovd's teammate Roger Hammond finished fourth, on the same time as pre-race favourite and defending Champion, Tom Boonen (Quick Step). Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) were the last to finish of the former six-man group.

There was a distinct sense of déjà vu as Cancellara stormed across the final 11 sectors alone. Despite a few bobbles on the uneven surface and one or two excursions onto the grass verges, his smooth style was reminiscent of a week earlier when he rode away from Boonen at the Tour of Flanders. However, he upped the ante this week to humble the men considered contenders in the lead-up to the weekend.

Overcome by emotion after crossing the finish line, the dust on Cancellara's face was broken by streams of tears as he embraced his wife and team management on the infield of the velodrome, which just moments before had erupted in celebration as he had swung left onto the track for his one-and-a-half laps of honour.

Cancellara became the first man in five years to claim both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix titles in the same season, Boonen the man to precede him, in 2005.

From Paris to the pavé

Some five hours earlier on a clear day in northern France, a large breakaway group had opened the first selection of the race. Nineteen riders featured in this leaders' group, including:

Romain Zingle (Cofidis), Maarten Wynants (Quick Step), Gorik Gardeyn (Vacansoleil), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo TestTeam), Sebastian Lang (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Chris Sutton and Gregory Henderson (Sky), Matthew Goss and Adam Hansen (HTC-Columbia), Rick Flens and Tom Leezer (Rabobank), Yohann Gene (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Inaki Isasi (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Mitchell Docker and Roy Curvers (Skil-Shimano), Kasper Klostergaard (Saxo Bank), Stephane Poulhies and Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur Sojasun).

A strong head wind kept the race close to its slowest estimated time schedule, but upon reaching the first pavé sector after almost hundred kilometres of racing the gap to the leaders' had managed to carve out an advantage of more than four minutes. However, the arrival of the cobbles began the gradual grind on the leaders' advantage.

Despite the reduction in the gap, the lead group were still the first to enter the Arenberg forest (sector 17). Behind, Saxo Bank took the approach of the forest as their cue and increased the speed in the peloton - the gap on the leaders dropping below two minutes.

The Trouee Arenberg wasn't as slippery as it has been in previous editions and there much fewer crashes on the 2400 meters long pavé sector. However, it retained its ability to re-shape the race. Cancellara and Boonen led the peloton through the forest and by the time they appeared on the asphalt, the gap to the now nine remaining leaders was less than a minute.

Team Sky accelerated at sector 14 (Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières – at 167km), causing several riders – among them David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) – to get dropped from the peloton.

After passing the second feed zone at 68 kilometers from the finish the last four breakaway riders – Wynants, Hansen, Hunt and Sutton - were caught back by the now 30-rider front peloton. Boonen laid down several accelerations in the ten kilometers that followed, but the Belgian Champion's attacks were easily neutralized by Cancellara and the other favourites.

"Boonen's attacks didn’t bother me and I didn't want to play his game. He tried to do his race and I did mine," said Cancellara afterwards of Boonen's moves.

What didn't work for Boonen was no problem for three other riders. Leif Hoste (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) and Sebastien Hinault (Ag2R-La Mondiale) created a small gap over the favourites group – which was proceeding without Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) or Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank.

In between sector 11 and 10, Boonen took a breather at the back of the main group and that's when the race was decided. Cancellara sneaked away from the front and consolidated his sudden advantage on 3000 meters-long sector at Mons-en-Pévèle. The Swiss Champion quickly bridged up with Hoste, Hinault and Leukemans. Of the trio, only Leukemans was able to keep up with the Swiss champion, but in time he too was dislodged.

In the chase group, Boonen's attempt to bridge to Cancellara was unsuccessful in its major objective, but created a selection of eight men. Flecha, Leukemans, Pozzato, Hoste, Hushovd, Hammond and Hinault the men with the tickets to ride. Despite the organisation behind, by the time Cancellara entered the next pavé sector (Mérignies à Le Prez at 216km) his gap was already up to more than half a minute.

George Hincapie and three HTC-Columbia riders were trailing in the second group, but failed in their bid to bridge up to the eight chasers.

As the rest of the race scrambled to defend their position, Cancellara was forging ahead in an impromptu individual time trial, which saw him build a lead of more than two minutes as he commenced the last 20 kilometres.

In the chasing group Leukemans was dropped after suffering a flat tyre. An acceleration from Flecha saw the numbers in the chase group reduced even further, as both Pozzato and Hoste lost contact with the group.

Flecha's attack typified the apparent desperation of the chase group, who could do nothing to pull back time on the Swiss locomotive that was forging his own path across the pavé. The advantage wavered between 2:30 and 3:00, with almost all the momentum in Cancellara's favour.

When Cancellara hit the Carrefour de l’Arbre with 16 kilometres to race, he had almost three minutes advantage on the bunch. And when he hit sector 3 (Gruson at 244km) the buffer had grown to 3:12, and despite the grimace fixed to his dust covered face he looked every bit a man in control of the situation.

Behind, Pozzato and Leukemans had rejoined the chase group, but as they hit the Carrefour the race for places was reshaped. Flecha and Hushovd setting off together, as Boonen, Pozzato, Hammond and Leukemans formed a second chase group. Again, the acceleration behind had a momentary effect on the gap to the leader, but at 2:45, it was hardly any threat to the Swiss Champion.

With the final sector of cobbles negotiated, Cancellara sacrificed some of his advantage as he drifted across towards his team car to throw several well-earned high-fives. The little gold Angel trinket given to him by his wife and daughter prior to his Flanders win was again extracted from his jersey pocket as a broad grin stretched across his face.

Sweeping around the final right-hand turn and into the velodrome Cancellara rode his half lap with his hands firmly attached to his handlebars, but as the final loop began so did his celebrations. He first clutched his helmet in disbelief and then raised his arms to salute one of the most commanding Paris-Roubaix victories in recent years.

Two minutes later, Flecha led Hushovd into the velodrome. As expected, the Norwegian used his superior sprint prowess to swing inside on the final banking to grab second place from the exhausted Spaniard.

Full Results
1Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank6:35:10 
2Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team0:02:00 
3Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
4Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervelo Test Team0:03:14 
5Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step  
6Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:03:20 
7Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha0:03:46 
8Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:05:16 
9Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:27 
10Hayden Roulston (NZl) Team HTC - Columbia0:06:59 
11Grégory Rast (Swi) Team Radioshack0:07:00 
12Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne0:07:05 
13Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
14Dominic Klemme (Ger) Team Saxo Bank  
15Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick Step  
16Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) Team Katusha  
17Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
18Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo Test Team  
19Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
20Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
21Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team HTC - Columbia  
22Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Transitions  
23Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Doimo  
24Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
25Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
26Michael Barry (Can) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
27Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
28Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
29George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team  
30Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team Radioshack  
31Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank  
32Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram  
33Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervelo Test Team  
34Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
35Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
36Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank0:07:21 
37Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha0:07:27 
38Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team HTC - Columbia0:09:33 
39Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
40Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini0:11:01 
41Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux0:12:44 
42Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step  
43Servais Knaven (Ned) Team Milram0:12:47 
44Robert Wagner (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
45Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
46Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
47Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano  
48Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Team Radioshack  
49Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Team Katusha  
50Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervelo Test Team  
51Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team Radioshack  
52Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:14:00 
53Theo Bos (Ned) Cervelo Test Team0:14:32 
54Rafai Chtioui (Tun) Acqua & Sapone  
55Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
56Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
57Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
58Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram  
59Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
60Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo0:14:36 
61Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
62Yohann Gene (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
63Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo  
64Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team0:14:38 
65Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
66William Bonnet (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
67Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team  
68Wim De Vocht (Bel) Team Milram  
69Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
70Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
71Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step  
72Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française Des Jeux0:16:07 
73Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team Katusha  
74Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank0:16:32 
HDNikolas Maes (Bel) Quick Step  
HDMatteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step  
HDMarco Velo (Ita) Quick Step  
HDWouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step  
HDMarco Bandiera (Ita) Team Katusha  
HDLaszlo Bodrogi (Fra) Team Katusha  
HDMikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha  
HDMartin Reimer (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
HDAdam Blyth (GBr) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
HDWilfried Cretskens (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
HDGlenn d'Hollander (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
HDSebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
HDStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
HDKurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
HDIan Stannard (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
HDMatti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
HDBaden Cooke (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
HDKasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
HDGustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank  
HDStuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
HDJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo  
HDFabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo  
HDPeter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo  
HDFrederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas-Doimo  
HDOlivier Bonnaire (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
HDSébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
HDTimothy Gudsell (NZl) Française Des Jeux  
HDArthur Vichot (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
HDMarkus Eichler (Ger) Team Milram  
HDThomas Fothen (Ger) Team Milram  
HDRoger Kluge (Ger) Team Milram  
HDLuke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram  
HDMatthew Harley Goss (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia  
HDAdam Hansen (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia  
DNFVicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Team HTC - Columbia  
DNFMarcel Sieberg (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia  
DNFMartin Velits (Svk) Team HTC - Columbia  
DNFLars Boom (Ned) Rabobank  
DNFRick Flens (Ned) Rabobank  
DNFThomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank  
DNFJoost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Rabobank  
DNFAlfredo Balloni (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
DNFVitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
DNFMarcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
DNFSteve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
DNFSaïd Haddou (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
DNFSébastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
DNFJens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
DNFGuillaume Blot (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
DNFJulien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
DNFKevin Ista (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
DNFNico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
DNFTristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
DNFRomain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
DNFMathieu Drujon (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne  
DNFImanol Erviti (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
DNFRui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne  
DNFAngel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
DNFLuis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
DNFMathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne  
DNFJose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
DNFWouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMartin Mortensen (Den) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
DNFJens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
DNFJoost Van Leijen (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
DNFRobin Chaigneau (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
DNFFloris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
DNFSteve Houanard (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
DNFTyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Transitions  
DNFSteven Cozza (USA) Garmin - Transitions  
DNFJulian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Transitions  
DNFDavid Millar (GBr) Garmin - Transitions  
DNFDanny Pate (USA) Garmin - Transitions  
DNFRicardo Van Der Velde (Ned) Garmin - Transitions  
DNFJohan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - Transitions  
DNFJulien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFBen Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFKristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFYuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFNicolas Rousseau (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFRomain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFJavier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFJonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFAndres Sergio De Lis (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFGorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFPablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team Radioshack  
DNFGeoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Team Radioshack  
DNFSébastien Rosseler (Bel) Team Radioshack  
DNFBjorn Selander (USA) Team Radioshack  
DNFMarcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMartin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFAlexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team  
DNFJohn Murphy (USA) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMichael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFJackson Stewart (USA) BMC Racing Team  
DNFDanilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFJimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFCedric Coutouly (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFJimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFFabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFRony Martias (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFRomain Matheou (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFStéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFLuca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFFrancesco Di Paolo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFFantini Alessandro (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFReinier Honig (Ned) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFGiuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone  
DNFRubens Bertogliati (Swi) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFThomas Bertolini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFAlberto Loddo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFDamiano Margutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFFabrice Piemontesi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFLuca Solari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNSFabio Taborre (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNSCameron Wurf (Aus) Androni Giocattoli  

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