Fabian Cancellara Wins Eighth National TT

Fabian Cancellara Wins Eighth National TTIn hot conditions RadioShack Leopard Trek’s Fabian Cancellara has won the Swiss Time Trial Championships to take his eighth national TT title. Despite a slow start, which saw him seven seconds down on the competition at the first split, the former Olympian and double Road Race Champion completed the 38.8km course around Satigny (near Geneva) in 50’35”, beating Martin Elmiger and Reto Hollenstein into second and third respectively.


Team Manager Luca Guercilena, commented on the heat of competition: ‘Besides a recon ride of the lap, Fabian didn’t do an real warm-up. The temperature was over 36 degrees, so that was a deliberate strategy of ours. He started off a bit slower than Elmiger, to get the machine working, but then he picked up speed and really started going fast. He was sweating like a horse!’


For his part Cancellara added, ‘It never gets boring to win your National Championships. For me it’s an honor to wear the jersey, so I really went for it… It was really, really hard. The course was up and down the whole time and with these temperatures, it made for a tough ride. I still felt the Tour de Suisse in my legs, despite the good feelings on the bike yesterday. For me it was also a test to see where my shape is at. I’m certainly satisfied.’



Fabian Cancellara Wins Flanders

Fabian Cancellara Wins FlandersRadioShack-Leopard’s Fabian Cancellara has taken his second Tour of Flanders victory (following his 2010 success), scoring a powerful win ahead of Cannondale’s Peter Sagan. Cancellara, always one of the firm favourites, won the 100th anniversary edition of Flanders – also known as the Ronde van Vlaanderen – one minute, 26seconds ahead of his Cannondale rival after a spectacular break from the field on the final climb. Speaking ahead of today’s race Cancellara had spoken of his rivalry with Sagain, saying, ‘Peter is a very young rider. I would have been very proud to win so many races at such a young age. A young rider has less stress; he has a calm mind…’


Defending champion Tom Boonen of Omega Pharma-Quick Step crashed out of the race just 19km in and was taken to hospital with a hip injury (X-rays subsequently revealed no broken bones), whilst Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas crashed with 36kilometres remaining, although he was able to complete the 256km race.


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Gold Run for Wiggo

With the Men’s Time Trial Bradley Wiggins has won the first of what we hope is a string of cycling golds. In the process he doubled Britain’s gold medal tally, just hours after the host nation won its first event at the London Olympics yesterday.


With his seventh Olympic medal, four of them gold, Wiggins is now the most decorated British Olympian, while the morning’s medal ensured Heather Stanning and Helen Glover became the first British female rowers to win an Olympic title. Wiggins had been the favorite for gold after winning both time trial stages en route to becoming Britain’s first Tour de France winner last month, and his dominance was clear to see as he finished 42 seconds ahead of the Germany’s 2011 world TT champion Tony Martin.


Chris Froome won the bronze, as former Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara finished a disappointing seventh. The Swiss rider injured his shoulder in Saturday’s Road Race and was clearly in pain when he crossed finish line. American Taylor Phinney finished fourth, nine seconds off a podium place.


Wiggins later turned up live on BBC, still looking a little shell-shocked, and even interrupted an international football broadcast with an unscheduled stop at the BBC3 studio. Cycling trumping football? The world’s gone mad (as Wiggo would say).



Cancellara Cancels at TdF

Fabian Cancellara of RadioShack Nissan Trek has announced today that he will not start Stage 11 of the Tour de France, but instead drop from this year’s event and return home to Bern to be with his wife in the last stages of her pregnancy. The Swiss rider, who won both the Prologue and Stage 7 at this year’s TdF, said in a statement, ‘The decision to go back home is harder than you might expect… Up to now the team has had a very good Tour de France. We won a stage, had the yellow jersey for more than a week, we lead the Teams Classification and we have four riders in the top 20 of the GC. Most of all, we could show the cycling world that we are not just a group of nine strong individual riders, but a real team. The atmosphere within this group is amazing.  All of this makes it hard to abandon here. On the other hand, all of my team mates and directors understand and agree with my decision.’


All being well Cancellara will be back on the saddle to defend his title at the London Olympics in just a few week’s time.



TdF Weekend Roundup

Tour de FranceAn exhilarating weekend opening for the 2012 Tour de France, which saw RadioShack-Nissan’s Fabian Cancellara take the Liege ITT Prologue win with Sky’s Bradley Wiggins in second and Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s in third. Wiggins, something of a TdF favourite this year, began his attack 11th last out on the 6.4km course with a time of 7minutes 20 (set by Sylvain Chavanel of Omega Pharma-QuickStep) to beat, but finishing his run with the new benchmark set (and ten riders still to race.) Despite ultimately taking second once Cancellara had turned out, Wiggins saw himself well set-up for the coming days and without the undue pressure of being first in the overalls; always magnanimous Wiggins commented, ‘Fair play to Fabian, he’s the best in the world at what he does and I think he proved that again today.’


With a tough climb finish on Stage 1 (Day 2) it was Liquigas-Cannondale’s Peter Sagan that crossed the line first after 198km of racing that, for a long time, had seen no clear leader. Prologue winner Cancellara took the second place (thus retaining his first overall standing) and Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen third, both on equal timings to Sagan. Misfortune with a puncture within 10km of the finish line saw Sky’s Chris Froome finish a disappointing 95th on the day, whilst last year’s champion, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), currently sits at eighth overall.


The TdF continues today (July 2) with the 207.5km leg from Visé to Tournai.



Cancellara Bounces Back

This year’s Ronde van Vlaanderen was certainly notable for its extensive casualty list and one of the most notable – pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara who crashed hard at a feed station – has been speaking optimistically from his clinic in Basel, Switzerland. The RadioShack-Nissan rider suffered an agonising quadruple collar bone fracture which surgeons repaired with a pin rather than the more usual plates and screws in order to maintain bone strength once training is able to resume. The team doctor, Andreas Gösele, described the procedure as: ‘…a lot more natural and (one which) doesn’t affect the strength of the bone once the device is removed. The pin will be removed once the fracture is completely healed, at the very earliest in six weeks time. But this is really a small routine operation.’


An amazingly upbeat Cancellara added: ‘A crash is part of cycling, and in a way it’s also part of life. I have been working really hard in the last four months to be in the best shape possible for the big races; and I’m confident that I would have performed well. However, I’m glad I only broke my collarbone and that I’m okay for the rest. I’ll be back!’ Indeed the rider hopes to return, at least to ergo-training, within a matter of days with the longer term goal being a full return to competition by May.



Van Summeren First (But Cancellara Top)

Van SummerenThis year’s 258km Paris-Roubaix was almost entirely defined by its crashes and mishaps. Belgian’s Tom Boonen (Quick Step’s Team leader) endured a puncture during the Arenberg Forest section before finally crashing out, whilst Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil), Roger Hammond (Garmin-Cervelo), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) were amongst others that went the same way. In the end though Garmin-Cervélo’s Johan Van Summeren took first in 6:07:28 for the biggest win of his career to date, with Fabian Cancellara in second for Leopard Trek and Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) third. Those looking at technical innovations may have noted that Van Summeren was resplendent in the new SpeedSuit (which has been called “possibly the fastest bit of clothing ever created for road racing”) which was trialled by Garmin-Cervelo at the Milan-San Remo in March.


Some comfort though for Cancellara; despite yesterday’s second place (and missing out at both Milan-San Remo and Tour of Flanders) he has moved into the top spot of the Union Cycliste Internationale’s latest WorldTour ranking with 236 points. The new UCI rankings now look like this:


1 – Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) 236 points
2 – Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) 203 points
3 – Andreas Kloden (RadioShack) 202 points
1 – Italy 525 points
2 – Australia 517 points
3 – Belgium 466 points
1 – RadioShack 465 points
2 – HTC-Highroad 453 points
3 – Rabobank 392 points


Image © Garmin-Cervelo