In this exclusive interview with Cyclingnews HD, defending champion Fabian Cancellara previews this weekend's Strade Bianche.
CNHD: You’ve won Strade Bianche twice, which win satisfied you more?
Cancellara: The first win was better because it was on a different, harder route, but both of them were pretty good. It’s just a nice race, special and unique. And riding along those old roads gives it a sort of historical feel, but it’s very tricky, too.
CNHD: How similar is it to Paris-Roubaix?
Cancellara: It has nothing in common at all. Roubaix means cobblestones, and Strade Bianche is white gravel roads, the gravel doesn’t feel the same at all. There are some parts where the roads are a little fluffy, but it’s a different experience altogether.
CNHD: Which is harder to manoeuvre the bike in?
Cancellara: Strade Bianche. Because when you are riding through a lot of gravel, it’s very difficult to keep your bike steady. I’m used to doing it, we have some gravel roads in Switzerland and I sometimes take the MTB on it, but you have to be careful on it. It’s a very different experience, I remember once I came off the road when I punctured in Qatar and I ended up riding through sand there. That’s the kind of sensation you have at Strade Bianche.
CNHD: How important for you is it to get a win early on this season to boost your confidence after last year was so uneven?
Cancellara: It’s always important to get a win, it doesn’t matter where, it gives extra motivation to you and the team throughout the classics. Winning isn’t absolutely everything, a good result can do the same. We will try to do the best that we can all the way through.
CNHD: How important are your team-mates in Strade Bianche?
Cancellara: Really important. Just like in every race, without them you go nowhere. I know that in Strade Bianche and Roubaix they say that it’s more an individual race than usual, and it looks like that on the TV, but believe me, it’s not. You need your team all the time, tactic-wise, strategy-wise, info-wise, just like in any other event.
Cycling News HD
Issue 44 of our digital magazine Cycling News HD is out now, and features the full exclusive interview with Fabian Cancellara. The issue also looks back on Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and previews Strade Bianche and the opening road stage of Paris-Nice, with interactive maps, profiles and startlists.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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