Fabian Cancellara (CSC) added victory in the Monte Pasche Eroica to his 2006 Paris-Roubaix victory on Saturday, confirming he his talent for races over difficult terrain.
Cancellara was part of the front group that caught the break of the day before the final section of dirt road 12 kilometres from the finish. Then he attacked with 2007 Tour of Flanders Ballan and the two powered to the finish.
The two worked together on the twisting final kilometres to Siena and then Cancellara made sure he was first into the final left turn and so won the sprint into the spectacular Piazza del Campo in the centre of Siena. Ballan was a disappointed second, while Linus Gerdemann (High Road) finished third and brought home the chase group to give the Eroica an impressive podium. World champion Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) finished a disappointed last, still suffering with his injuries after a nasty crash in last weekend?s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
Magnus Backstedt (Slipstream) made his return to racing at the Eroica after breaking his collarbone at the Tour of Qatar. He struggled with shoe plate problems on the first section on dirt road and retired mid-way through the race.
Cancellara had not felt his best after returning to Europe from the Tour of California but his motivation grew as he battled over every section of dirt road.
?This morning before the start I didn?t think I?d win. I haven?t been well this week and definitely not 100% because all my family was ill. I rode to test my form after Het Volk and the effort I made in California.?
?We attacked on the last hard section of dirt road but I didn?t know there was that last steep bit. I found the motivation to win during the race as a lot of different things came to mind. I thought about winning for the team about the beauty of the race and even a bit for anger I feel about what is happening in France. I used it all give it everything in the final part of the race.?
?I beat Ballan in the last corner. If you?re in front before the corner it?s almost impossible to be overtaken before the line and I was also convinced I could win.?
It?s great to beat some one like Alessandro (Ballan) because he won Flanders and wants to win the big classics in the next few weeks. Winning gives me a lot of faith for the future and makes me realise I?m on the right path for my big objectives the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.?
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 180km in 4-34-41
2 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre at same time
3 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) High Road at 15secs
4 Martyn Maaskant (Ned) Slipstream
5 Baden Cooke (Aus) Barloworld
6 Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Barloworld
7 Niklas Axelsson (Swe) Serramenti PVC Diquigio
8 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) High Road
9 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems
10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Slipstream all same time.