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Gallery: Cancellara celebrates with his Flemish fan club

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Fabian Cancellara takes a lesson in the fine art of pulling a pint.

Fabian Cancellara takes a lesson in the fine art of pulling a pint.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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No loaves and fishes, but plenty of liquid refreshment for the masses at the Fabian Cancellara fan club in Oudenaarde.

No loaves and fishes, but plenty of liquid refreshment for the masses at the Fabian Cancellara fan club in Oudenaarde.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fabian Cancellara gives a regal wave to his supporters in Oudenaarde.

Fabian Cancellara gives a regal wave to his supporters in Oudenaarde.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fabian Cancellara is welcomed in Oudenaarde.

Fabian Cancellara is welcomed in Oudenaarde.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fabian Cancellara tries his hand at a local tradition.

Fabian Cancellara tries his hand at a local tradition.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fabian Cancellara was also featured on Belgian television show Café Corsari.

Fabian Cancellara was also featured on Belgian television show Café Corsari.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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In spite of breaking Flemish hearts on Sunday, Fabian Cancellara is a hugely popular figure with the locals.

In spite of breaking Flemish hearts on Sunday, Fabian Cancellara is a hugely popular figure with the locals.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fabian Cancellara's jersey from the Tour of Flanders is held up like a relic.

Fabian Cancellara's jersey from the Tour of Flanders is held up like a relic.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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The excitement surrounding Fabian Cancellara's arrival was akin to that of a Papal visit.

The excitement surrounding Fabian Cancellara's arrival was akin to that of a Papal visit.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fabian Cancellara is greeted by his Belgian fan club president Remi De Moor.

Fabian Cancellara is greeted by his Belgian fan club president Remi De Moor.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fabian Cancellara is a man in demand in Flanders.

Fabian Cancellara is a man in demand in Flanders.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Cheers! Fabian Cancellara toasts his second Ronde victory.

Cheers! Fabian Cancellara toasts his second Ronde victory.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fabian Cancellara salutes the masses.

Fabian Cancellara salutes the masses.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fabian Cancellara at the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Fabian Cancellara at the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) may have broken Flemish hearts by cruising to victory in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday but the local fans have a passion for cycling that goes beyond national boundaries. And so, far from being vilified, the visiting conqueror was feted by his Belgian fan club at the Centrum Ronde van Vlaaderen in Oudenaarde on Monday evening.

Like Sean Kelly before him, Cancellara’s feel for racing on the cobbles has made him a firm favourite in Flanders and it is fitting that his dedicated fan club established its base to the café at the Tour of Flanders museum last winter.

Cancellara visited the fan club’s inauguration last November and he made good on his promise to return on Monday evening, when the crowds massed outside the centre gave Cancellara’s arrival the feel of a Papal visit.

“I’m taking the opportunity to greet my fans when I can," Cancellara said, according to Het Laatste Nieuws. "I feel tired after De Ronde but I’m very glad to be here. My Flemish fans are always there for me so this is a small effort. These people give me a really warm and fantastic feeling."

Cancellara confirmed that he will take part in Wednesday’s Scheldeprijs. The Antwerp race will be his final tune-up for next weekend’s Paris-Roubaix, where he takes the start as the prohibitive favourite.