Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara aims to win the rare cycling double tomorrow, conquering Paris-Roubaix one week after the Tour of Flanders.
“Taking the double is now my biggest motivation,” explained Cancellara. “There have only been a few Belgians and one Swiss, Henri Suter in 1923, who have done it.”
Cancellara, 29, won the Tour of Flanders for the first time since turning professional in 2001. He escaped with Belgian rival Tom Boonen (Quick Step) on the Molenberg and then left him behind on the cobbled Muur-Kapelmuur climb, leaving 15 kilometres to race.
Boonen is Cancellara’s biggest rival for the French Monument and the last rider to have completed the double. In 2005, Boonen won his first Flanders and Roubaix, and also went on to win the World Championships that year. This year, though, he is without a win and Cancellara’s Saxo Bank team appears in control.
“My goal was to win Flanders, I got it, but I still have the condition to win and my team is so strong. The pressure is on Tom and his team. Our team is winning and showing well, so we can take more chances in Roubaix,” continued Cancellara.
“Against our team you will have a hard life. We communicate well and everything is working well, which keeps me calm and allows me to focus on the win.”
Cancellara will become only the 10th rider in history to win the double if he succeeds. Double winners: Tom Boonen (2005), Peter Van Petegem (2003), Roger De Vlaeminck (1977), Rik Van Looy (1962), Fred De Bruyne (1957), Raymond Impanis (1954), Gaston Rebry (1934), Romain Gijssels (1932) and, the only non-Belgian, Henri Suter (1923).
His other aim is to win all five monuments, joining an exclusive group that includes only De Vlaeminck, Van Looy and Merckx.
“I will have to wait and try at the Tour of Lombardy because now it is all about Paris-Roubaix. Winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège is possible, but my preparations have to be different. I have to think about skipping Roubaix.”
Cancellara has three of the five monuments – Milan-San Remo, Flanders and Roubaix – but lacks Liège and Lombardy.