Trek Factory Racing's Fabian Cancellara knows a thing or two (or three) about winning Paris-Roubaix. Although he will not be on the start line this year due to injuries sustained at a crash during E3 Harelbeke, the three-time winner of the event shared his personal experiences about what it’s like to race in the cobbles and ride into the velodrome in Roubaix as the victor of the famed Spring Classic.
"It's an amazing feeling when you can come into the velodrome by yourself and to really enjoy and celebrate the victory…." Cancellara said. "The dream and the goal is always to come into the velodrome alone, I have achieved that twice and that is really nice."
Cancellara first won the race in 2006 after attacking his rivals with 19km to go and riding to the finish line alone, nearly two minutes ahead of the chase group of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Ballan. In 2010, he again took a solo win, while also completing the Flanders-Roubaix double, this time by two minutes ahead of Thor Hushovd and Juan Antonio Fleche. During the 2013 edition, he won a two-up sprint against Sep Vanmarcke, while Niki Terpstra was third.
This year, there will be 27 sectors of pavé for a total of 57.5km along the 253.5km course. Sectors like the Arenberg Forest (158km, 2400m), Mons-en-Pévèle (204.5km, 3000m) and Carrefour de l'Arbre (236.5km, 2100m) will play a key role in the outcome of this race.
"In Roubaix, you always try to ride in the front as maximum as you can because you somehow save energy there," Cancellara said. "It's always a fight going into the cobbles because everyone wants to be there… it's a fight all the time. It's a fight from the start to the finish."
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