Cancellara dominates at Paris-Roubaix classic
Swiss cycling champion Fabian Cancellara has won his second major race in eight days, dominating the classic Paris-Roubaix course on Sunday.
The 29-year-old completed the 259 kilometres of the so-called Hell of the North route in six hours, 35 minutes and ten seconds.
Thor Hushovd of Norway and Spain’s Juan Antonio Flecha finished two minutes behind.
Cancellara, also known as Spartacus, also finished first in the Tour of Flanders last Sunday.
It is the second time he has won Paris-Roubaix, famous – or infamous – for its long stretches of cobblestone.
Cancellara made his attacks on the flat road sections, reeling in the leading group of Sébastien Hinault, Leif Hoste and Björn Leukemans in short order.
He and Belgian rival Tom Boonen rode together at the front as the riders entered the last 60 kilometres but Cancellara’s attack shortly after proved far too strong for Boonen and the rest of the field.
The time trial specialist and Olympic gold medallist built up a 15-second lead, dropping the other riders with 45 kilometres to go.
Cancellara would extend his margin over the chasing group, which included Boonen, Thor Hushovd, Filippo Pozzato, Juan Antonio Flecha and Roger Hammond, to almost a minute.
That continued, as Cancellara extended his lead to over three minutes at one point.
His back wheel wobbled on a cobblestone section near the end, but he kept control of his bike. He had earlier had a slight scare when he had to change bikes about 76 kilometres from the finish.
For Cancellara it was another week to best Belgian rival Tom Boonen, who finished behind him in Flanders. Boonen was aiming for his fourth Paris-Roubaix win. He was also the last man to win both races in the same year, a feat he accomplished in 2005.
Cancellara is now only the tenth man to win the famed race and the Tour of Flanders in the same year. Not that it was easy.
This year’s edition featured 27 stretches of cobblestone totalling more than 50 kilometres. There were several crashes.
The Swiss rider eased up the final kilometre, celebrating before the cameras. He sat up and pumped his fists at the finish in Roubaix to a thunderous applause.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
Switzerland, Saxo Bank
Norway, Cervélo Test Team
Juan Antonio Flecha
Spain, Team Sky
Britain, Cervélo Test Team
Belgium, Quick Step
The Paris-Roubaix classic is one of the world’s oldest and most demanding single-day cycling races.
It was first run in 1886.There have been 108 events.
One of the race’s hallmarks is that part of it is done over more than 50km of cobblestones. Riders also navigate rain and muddy roads.
It begins in Compiégne, some 60km north of Paris and ends in Roubaix, near the Belgain border.
Teams often put their riders on bicycles with stronger frames and wheels.
2010 Tour of Belgium.
2006, 2007, 2009 world time trial champion.
2008 Olympic time trial champion.
He is also a winner of Paris-Roubaix, Milan-Sanremo, Tirreno-Adriatico and Monte Paschi Eroica one-day races.
He took five stages of the Tour de France and two stages of the Tour of Spain.
Last year he won the Tour de Switzerland with his team, Saxo Bank.
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