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Cancellara wins Tour of Flanders

By:
Brecht Decaluwé

Swiss powerhouse solos in from the Paterberg

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) added a second Tour of Flanders victory to his immense palmares in emphatic fashion, soloing to victory in Oudenaarde. 

Cancellara dispatched breakaway companions Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) on the final ascent of the Paterberg and had plenty of time to savour his win on the home stretch, having extended his lead to over a minute in the closing kilometres.

Sagan easily out-kicked Roelandts for second place while Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) led in the chase group for 10 seconds later.
Cancellara pointed to the sky as he crossed the line and then hugged is wife. He was the big favourite but managed to distance all his rivals and win alone.

"The goal was to win. You can't always predict how but it's amazing to win. A year ago I was on the ground. It's never easy but I'm really happy," he said.

"It was a strange race. It was fast at the beginning. There weren't many riders left at the end but I did the right tactic. Everyone expected me to go and I tried to make the first selection on the Kwaremont. I love the cobbles and so after that I did what I had to do."

How it happened

At exactly 10 o’clock, 205 riders left the crowded market in Bruges to kick off the 100th edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Temperatures barely reached freezing point, though the sun tried hard to warm up the riders’ spirits. Belgian champion and triple Ronde winner Tom Boonen received most support when he rode through the massive crowds in the medieval-looking town of Bruges.

However after just 19km of fast racing, Boonen was also the first rider to be named on race radio when the race passed through Lichtervelde. Boonen rode into some traffic furniture and injured his knee, hip and back. He was left lying at the side of a big road outside the town centre and clearly suffering from a lot of pain. For a brief moment the triple winner of the Ronde tried to get back on his bike but that turned out to be impossible. His race was over and he left in an ambulance to undergo further investigation in the hospital. Fortunately x-rays showed he did not suffer any fractures but his spring could be over.

Back in the race, it turned out to be extremely hard to create the breakaway move. There was an attack by nine riders which got more the three minutes once the race entered the hill zone. However some chasing from Team Europcar and later the Radioshack team brought the gap down again.

Counter-attacks in the peloton turned the situation around. Approaching the three loops through the hilly part of the race route, only Jetse Bol (Blanco) and Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) survived from the early move. They were joined by André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), Michael Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco) and Marcel Sieberg (Lotto-Belisol).

The six leaders worked well together and arrived at the foot of the long cobbled climb with a one minute lead on the peloton. Bol quickly lost contact with his companions but the ascent of the Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg and Koppenberg didn’t change the race situation up front. The steepness of the Koppenberg forced many riders to put their foot on the ground, blocking the racing and then forcing a huge chase. One minute ahead of the peloton the five remaining leaders reached the feed zone where Cancellara crashed last year. Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Sébastien Minard (AG2R La Mondiale) profited from the cease-fire to bridge across to the lead group. Behind it was still a waiting game, with the big favourites watching each other carefully.

The leaders hit the second loop with less than half a minute advantage on the peloton. On the first slopes of the second climb of the Oude Kwaremont, Sieberg and De Vreese quickly got dropped. The peloton rushed to the Paterberg at high speed but the resulting waves concluded with a crash for Geraint Thomas (Sky).

Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) lost contact with the peloton due to a mechanical on the Paterberg. After this nasty duo of climbs, there were only two riders left in front: Selvaggi and Kwiatkowski.

With 32km to go Yoann Offredo (FDJ), Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol), Sébastien Hinault (IAM) and Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) anticipated accelerations from the big guns, with an attack on the section between the Paterberg and the Hotond. Once over the Hotond only Kwiatkowski was able to keep up with these men. When diving back towards Berchem and the final ascent of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, the peloton trailed the five leaders by just 30 seconds, mainly thanks to the work from Stijn Devolder (Radioshack). The race was still wide open.

Cancellara makes his move

Roelandts and Hinault distanced their companions, just before hitting the final ascent of the Oude Kwaremont. Roelandts then went alone once he reached the cobbled section. Behind Cancellara finally made is move. Everyone was expecting it but his immense power allowed him to distance all the other riders, except for Peter Sagan, who just managed to hold his wheel. As expected, they would fifth for victory.

Roelandts still had a lead when reaching the top of the 2200m long climb. Cancellara and Sagan trailed the Belgian by fifteen seconds as the rest of the break was caught. The rest of the field was blown away.

Roelandts tried to recover as he waited for Cancellara and Sagan. The trio hit the Paterberg with a 15-second lead over a 25-man strong chase group which was led by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Luca Paolini (Katusha) and Sebastiaan Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge). However it was all about Cancellara and Sagan.

Cancellara led the trio on the steepest, cobbled part of the Paterberg. He looked back as Roelandts was gapped and then blasted away. Roelandts cracked and then just before reaching the top Sagan bowed his head in a sign of defeat and the gap opened. Cancellara did not hesitate and switched to time trial mode, tucked low over his bike, pushing a huge gear.

The race was over. Cancellara’s experience and power had defeat Sagan’s youth and speed.
 

Full Results
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard 6:06:01  
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:27  
3 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:01:29  
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha 0:01:39  
5 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ    
6 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling    
7 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
8 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar    
9 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano    
10 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge    
11 Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
12 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
13 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
14 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
15 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
16 Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ    
17 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling    
18 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
19 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar    
20 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp    
21 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
22 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team    
23 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha 0:01:48  
24 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ 0:02:30  
25 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:02:49  
26 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling    
27 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
28 Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura    
29 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
30 Steve Chainel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
31 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
32 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
33 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling    
34 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
35 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar    
36 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
37 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
38 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team    
39 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
40 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
41 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling    
42 Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack Leopard    
43 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:04:56  
44 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
45 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:40  
46 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:05:56  
47 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
48 Marco Bandiera (Ita) IAM Cycling    
49 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
50 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
51 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol    
52 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
53 Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Crelan-Euphony    
54 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
55 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha    
56 Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
57 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
58 Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard    
59 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team    
60 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:07:45  
61 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling 0:10:52  
62 Russell Downing (GBr) Team NetApp-Endura    
63 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
64 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
65 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
66 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
67 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha    
68 Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
69 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
70 Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling    
71 Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
72 Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Sharp    
73 Baden Cooke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
74 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
75 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Argos-Shimano    
76 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano    
77 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Crelan-Euphony 0:13:35  
78 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
79 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
80 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano    
81 Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano    
82 Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
83 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp    
84 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Orica-GreenEdge    
85 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol    
86 Edward King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
87 Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
88 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp    
89 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol    
90 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team    
91 Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
92 David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar    
93 Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky Procycling    
94 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard    
95 Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano    
96 Robert Wagner (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
97 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
98 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ    
99 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
100 Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Katusha    
101 Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura    
102 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
103 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling    
104 Danilo Hondo (Ger) RadioShack Leopard    
105 Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar    
106 Markus Eichler (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura    
107 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
108 Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale    
109 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
110 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge    
111 Andreas Klier (Ger) Garmin-Sharp    
112 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
113 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
114 Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling    
115 Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNS Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
DNS William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
DNF Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
DNF Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Rick Flens (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Jetse Bol (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
DNF Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
DNF Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
DNF Peio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Steffen Radochla (Ger) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Adrian Saez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF André Schulze (Ger) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Alexander Serebryakov (Rus) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF David Boucher (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha    
DNF Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha    
DNF Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha    
DNF Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Massimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Davide Vigano (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team    
DNF Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team    
DNF Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
DNF Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge    
DNF Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
DNF Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard    
DNF Hayden Roulston (NZl) RadioShack Leopard    
DNF Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack Leopard    
DNF Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling    
DNF Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling    
DNF Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Sky Procycling    
DNF Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling    
DNF Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF William Clarke (Aus) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNF Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNF Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNF Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNF Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
DNF Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Tim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Jérôme Gilbert (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Roy Jans (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Koen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Jonathan Breyne (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Kevin Claeys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling    
DNF Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-Endura    
DNF Blaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp-Endura    
DNF Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp-Endura    
DNF Alexander Wetterhall (Swe) Team NetApp-Endura    
DNF Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Stefano Borchi (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
DNF Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
DNF Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
DNF Francesco Failli (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
DNF Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
DNF Mattia Pozzo (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia