The big loser from today’s Tour of Flanders was pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara, who crashed heavily in the feed zone 60 kilometres from the finish and abandoned.

Lying stricken on the tarmac, the pre-race favourite barely moved for several minutes before travelling to Oudenaarde hospital, where he was diagnosed with a triple fracture of his right collarbone.

2010 champion Cancellara’s bad luck continues. He’d suffered a puncture earlier on the Molenberg; at last week’s GP E3-Harelbeke, he punctured and was T-boned by another rider.

“I’m convinced that he would have had a very good support in order to try to win this race. That’s really a shame but, at the same time, it’s bike racing,” team boss Johan Bruyneel told journalists at the finish.

Radioshack’s Roubaix rethink

As well as losing his Tour of Flanders shot, the crash dumps Cancellara out of Paris-Roubaix next weekend, forcing Radioshack-Nissan to rethink their strategy.

“It’s a different way of doing this race, without the big leader and one of the favourites,” Bruyneel said.

“It is what it is, we can’t change it… luckily he got that second place in Milan-San Remo, but the two cobbled Classics are really his races, so it means it’s basically a disaster.”

Radioshack maintained a presence in the race, with Gregory Rast placing eleventh. But the riders’ spirits were affected by Cancellara’s crash.

“Once they knew Fabian was out, the other guys lost their morale a little bit, you don’t have that conviction to fight.”

Swiss journalists also inform CW that this is the first time Cancellara has ever broken a bone.

Related links

Boonen wins Tour of Flanders