By Gregor Brown
Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) crashed again today while reconnoitring the parcours for Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. It marks two such incidents in as many days as Cancellara hit the deck only 50 kilometres into Scheldeprijs yesterday.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, the recent Tour of Flanders winner crashed on the four-star Waindignies-Hamage cobbled sector. The sector is one of 27 and features 170.5 kilometres into the 254-kilometre race.
Cancellara missed last year's "Hell of the North" and was eager to keep training. According to the team press officer, he hitched a lift in the team car and returned to his two wheels further up the parcours.
The 32-year-old Swiss already won Paris-Roubaix twice, in 2006 and 2010, placed on the podium on another two occasions. He is the hot favourite to win, with 5:3 odds.
Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) and Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing) both carry 12:1 odds. Geraint Thomas (Sky) has 18:1 odds.
Sixty kilometres an hour
Cancellara fell with Bernhard Eisel (Sky) and three others yesterday in the mid-week Scheldeprijs race near Antwerp. He landed on his backside, which was revealed later as he raced along with ripped shorts.
"He was riding 60k/h, that's rather dangerous," the team's general manger, Luca Guercilena told journalists including Cycling Weekly.
"He took a big hit on the backside, that was clear from the TV images, but we'll have to evaluate impact is."
Cancellara left from the team's hotel in Bruges this morning as planned to reconnoitre Roubaix's famous cobble sectors. Somewhere on the Waindignies-Hamage sector, he took a dive. He landed on his left side, banging his left elbow and shoulder, according to the team doctor.
His RadioShack team-mates safely rode around Cancellara. After pausing, they continued.
Cancellara stepped into the team car with sports director Dirk Demol and took a ride further up the parcours. He rejoined his team-mates after the Orchies sector, which leaves 61 kilometres to the Roubaix velodrome.
Neither accident appears serious, but the crashes together may take their toll on Cancellara as he races for a third Paris-Roubaix title.
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