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Fabian Cancellara wins Strade Bianche

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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) celebrates his victory in Strade Bianche.

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) celebrates his victory in Strade Bianche. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale)

Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia)

Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan)

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Daniele Bennati rode like the perfect teammate for Fabian Cancellara

Daniele Bennati rode like the perfect teammate for Fabian Cancellara (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Former world champion Cadel Evans (BMC)

Former world champion Cadel Evans (BMC) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team) leads a group

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team) leads a group (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The early break in Strade Bianche

The early break in Strade Bianche (Image credit: Sirotti)
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(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) on top of the podium

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) on top of the podium (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia)

Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (BMC)

Cadel Evans (BMC) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) isn't in top form this season

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) isn't in top form this season (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) after winning Strade Bianche

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) after winning Strade Bianche (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) on the dirt roads

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) on the dirt roads (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team) couldn't follow the best riders on the climbs

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team) couldn't follow the best riders on the climbs (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team) worked hard all day

Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team) worked hard all day (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Ballan and Nibali ride together

Ballan and Nibali ride together (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan)

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) has help after a puncture

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) has help after a puncture (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) faces the media at the finish

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) faces the media at the finish (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Roman Kreuziger (Astana)

Roman Kreuziger (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) rides alone to the finish at Strade Bianche

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) rides alone to the finish at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Maxim Iglinskiy (Pro Team Astana) had to settle for second

Maxim Iglinskiy (Pro Team Astana) had to settle for second (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara's first win of the season

Fabian Cancellara's first win of the season (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) wins the 2012 Strade Bianche

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) wins the 2012 Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Barracuda)

Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Barracuda) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The finish at Strade Bianche

The finish at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale) missed the winning move

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale) missed the winning move (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Maxim Iglinskiy (Pro Team Astana) had to settle for second

Maxim Iglinskiy (Pro Team Astana) had to settle for second (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Barracuda)

Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Barracuda) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Massimo Graziato (Lampre - ISD)

Massimo Graziato (Lampre - ISD) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ramon Sinkeldam (Project 1T4i) slips off the back of the lead group

Ramon Sinkeldam (Project 1T4i) slips off the back of the lead group (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Federico Canuti (Liquigas - Cannopndale)

Federico Canuti (Liquigas - Cannopndale) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Oscar Gatto (Varnese Vini-Selle Italia) was a surprise 3rd in Strade Bianche

Oscar Gatto (Varnese Vini-Selle Italia) was a surprise 3rd in Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) wins Strade Bianche for the second time in his career

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) wins Strade Bianche for the second time in his career (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) won with one single attack

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) won with one single attack (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gilbert (BMC) missed the major move and couldn't repeat his win from 2011

Gilbert (BMC) missed the major move and couldn't repeat his win from 2011 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Francesco Ginanni (Acqua&Sapone) had no answer to Cancellara's attack

Francesco Ginanni (Acqua&Sapone) had no answer to Cancellara's attack (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellar looks back to check the gap

Fabian Cancellar looks back to check the gap (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The peloton ride together early in the race

The peloton ride together early in the race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Iglinskiy, Cancellara and Gatto

Iglinskiy, Cancellara and Gatto (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Iglinskiy, Cancellara and Gatto

Iglinskiy, Cancellara and Gatto (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Back on top: Cancellara takes his first win in 2012

Back on top: Cancellara takes his first win in 2012 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan)

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan)

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan)

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Iglinskiy pips Gatto for second place in Strade Bianche

Iglinskiy pips Gatto for second place in Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The 2012 Strade Bianche podium

The 2012 Strade Bianche podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) is pulled back by Cancellara

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) is pulled back by Cancellara (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Maximilian Iglinskiy (Astana) finished second

Maximilian Iglinskiy (Astana) finished second (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan) heads to the podium

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan) heads to the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Oscar Gatto (Farnese Neri - Selle Italia) rode to third place

Oscar Gatto (Farnese Neri - Selle Italia) rode to third place (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan) showed his strength with one major attack

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Nissan) showed his strength with one major attack (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) dominated the Strade Bianche endgame and powered to a solo victory.

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) dominated the Strade Bianche endgame and powered to a solo victory. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Swiss road champion Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) claimed a decisive solo victory at Strade Bianche.

Swiss road champion Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) claimed a decisive solo victory at Strade Bianche. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Strade Bianche podium (l-r): Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana), Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia)

Strade Bianche podium (l-r): Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana), Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Top-3 for 2012 Strade Bianche (l-r): Maxim Iglinskiy, 2nd; Fabian Cancellara, 1st; Oscar Gatto, 3rd

Top-3 for 2012 Strade Bianche (l-r): Maxim Iglinskiy, 2nd; Fabian Cancellara, 1st; Oscar Gatto, 3rd (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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The Strade Bianche peloton on the race's characteristic 'white gravel'.

The Strade Bianche peloton on the race's characteristic 'white gravel'. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Strade Bianche peloton rolls through the Tuscan countryside.

The Strade Bianche peloton rolls through the Tuscan countryside. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) becomes the first two-time winner of Strade Bianche.

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) becomes the first two-time winner of Strade Bianche. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) kick-started his 2012 season with a dominant display in Saturday’s Strade Bianche. The 2008 champion finished 42 seconds clear of Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) and Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia). The BMC duo of Alessandro Ballan and Greg Van Avermaet were forced to settle for 4th and 5th, despite being two of the main protagonists in the race.

Until today RadioShack-Nissan had been shy of wins outside of team classifications but if all the plaudits are directed towards Cancellara then surely this was as good as a team performance the Luxembourg squad has displayed this season.

"I still hadn’t won this year and so it’s great to win this race," Cancellara said.

Present in the first significant break of the day with Ben Hermans, RadioShack-Nissan was able to save its reserves for the most testing sections of dirt roads in the final 60 kilometres. After 10 kilometres the day’s first significant break formed. Marco Pinotti (BMC), Claudio Corioni (Acqua & Sapone), Borut Bozic (Astana), Marco Coledan (Colnago-CSF Inox), Jarlinson Pantano and Juan Suarez (Colombia - Coldeportes), Kevin Hulsmans (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia), Massimo Graziato (Lampre), Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Cannondale), Ramon Sinkeldam (Project 1T4i), Ben Hermans (RadioShack-Nissan), and Gabriele Bosisio (Utensilnord Named) built up a healthy lead, and allowed for Cancellara and the rest of his team to remain in the safety of the bunch.

With the early break caught after 135 kilometres, and the first major selection made soon after, Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan) broke free from the leading group with 38 kilometres to go. He was marked by Liquigas-Cannondale’s Daniel Oss and the two gradually built up a gap of 40 seconds as BMC and Garmin-Barracuda began to chase.

But Oss was no match for Bennati and on a small, but steep, rise the Liquigas man was quickly dispatched. Bennati gave one look back before tucking into an aero position and pressing on alone. With him up the road and Cancellara finally isolated from his teammates, the Italian had no option but to press on.

Cancellara, meanwhile, kept a low profile in the group of favourites, as BMC, Astana and Garmin’s Johan Vansummeren began to drag Bennati back.

On the 6th strade bianche sector, San Giovanni, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) cut a menacing figure on the front of the chase group and along with Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) began to detach weaker riders still in contention.

Ballan was the next rider to try and make a decisive move with 21 kilometres remaining and while his telegraphed attack saw the likes of Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) go into the red, he was matched by nearly all of the main contenders.

But it wasn’t until just before the 8th strade bianche sector that the race winning move was created. Van Avermaet, again the aggressor, came to the front, Ballan left a small gap and the Belgian threw down a brutish acceleration. For the first time Cancellara moved to the front.

Just before the top of the dusty climb the 2008 winner caught Van Avermaet, with Ballan and Iglinskiy desperately trying to come on terms, knowing that if Cancellara had even the slightest gap on the descent he would be difficult to catch. But in no time Superman had flown.

Over the top Cancellara assessed the damage behind and with a 50 meter gap, decided to press on.

In a flashback to the Tour of Flanders in 2011, this was BMC versus Cancellara, as Ballan and Van Avermaet organised their chase. Iglinskiy, joined by his Astana teammate Roman Kreuziger, plus Gatto also made the selection, creating a formidable chasing pack of five over the final testing ten kilometres.

The smoothness in pedal stroke and relaxed posture were missing and this was not the same Cancellara that romped to the Flanders-Roubaix double in 2010 and certainly not the Superman who rode through a lead group in E3 last year, but the Swiss time trialist appeared to have the measure of his rivals, increasing his lead to over 30 seconds.

However the gap dropped to 20 seconds with 7 kilometers remaining, giving the chasers the briefest of hopes. But when Ballan took a wrong turn at a roundabout the chase lost its momentum. The Italian was able to rejoin the chase group but by then Cancellara’s lead was touching a minute.

Full Results
1Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan4:44:59
2Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:42
3Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
4Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:46
5Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:48
6Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team0:01:03
7Francesco Reda (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:01:45
8Francesco Ginanni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:01:47
9Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
10Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin - Barracuda0:01:57
11Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan0:03:58
12Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes
13Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
14Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
15Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
16Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team0:04:02
17Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Project 1T4i0:07:50
18Laurent Didier (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan
19Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin - Barracuda
20Patxi Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) Utensilnord Named
21Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes
22Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
23Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Type 1 - Sanofi
24Rémi Cusin (Fra) Team Type 1 - Sanofi
25Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team
26Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
27Luca Ascani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
28Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Barracuda
29Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale
30Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
31Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
32Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes
33Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
34Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
35Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda
36Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISD
37Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes
38Angelo Pagani (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
39Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
40Filippo Savini (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
41José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team
42Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD
43Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
44Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Team Type 1 - Sanofi
45Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan
46Sergey Renev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
47Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team
48Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
49Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan
50Daniele Colli (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi
51Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-Nissan
52Moreno Moser (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

 

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