Fabulous Fabian Cancellara cemented his name in Belgian Classic folklore, by sprinting to victory in Oudenaarde. The Trek Factory Racing rider made his move from a select four-man group with just 300 metres remaining to claim the race for the third time.
“I asked how many seconds we (the break) had because the last thing I really wanted was (Alexander) Kristoff, Geraint (Thomas) and Niki Terpstra and others coming,” said Cancellara.
[quote_center]“For the spectators it was a kind of track final, it was man against man and I just kept pushing to bring this home to the team.”[/quote_center]
Cancellara finished ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) with Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Stijn Vandenbergh finishing fourth.
“I still don’t believe it. It’s so tough, I almost got dropped two times when they attacked and then everything just went well at the end,” said Cancellara.
[quote_box_center]“Last year I won in an amazing way but to repeat this is even bigger I think because winning once is big, but to repeat this, well…just no words.”[/quote_box_center]
The race contained a series of spectacular crashes from the outset, including one involving a roadside spectator and Garmin-Sharp’s Johan Vansummeren.
An 11-man break fought off the hungry peloton for the majority of the race, but was caught with 43km’s remaining. The group included Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE), Stig Broeckx (Lotto Belisol) and Taylor Phinney (BMC), all of whom worked tirelessly to make the break stick.
From that point the race belonged to the majority of the best classics riders in the world as they duelled for supremacy.
In addition to the top four finishers the group also contained pre-race favourites Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale), but they both faded toward the finish and failed to contest the final.
Tour of Flanders: 259.1km, Brugge to Oudenaarde
1 Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Trek Factory Racing 6hr 15min 25sec
2 Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) BMC
3 Sep Vanmarcke (BEL) Belkin
4 Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
5 Alexander Kristoff (NOR) Team Katusha 0:00:20
6 Niki Terpstra (NED) Omega Pharma QuickStep
7 Tom Boonen (BEL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:28
8 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Sky
9 Bjorn Leukemans (BEL) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10 Sebastian Langeveld (NED) Garmin-Sharp