Now three times a winner of the opening stage of the Tour de France, Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) has said that his latest victory was by far the hardest to achieve.
“It was an incredibly tough course,” Cancellara said after the yellow jersey ceremony.
“There was a very tricky climb and a fast descent, and then you had to keep some energy back for those final two kilometres as well.
“In fact I think it was in that last flat part of the course that I actually made all the difference.”
“The proof is that is where I could catch [Denis] Menchov [Rabobank]. Getting nearly 20 seconds on [Alberto] Contador [Astana] when he was the big favourite for today is a very good feeling, too.”
Cancellara won the Tour prologue in Liège in 2004, then triumphed in London in 2007. Victory in Monaco completes the hat-trick. But it’s been a difficult year for him. The spring Classics campaign was a disaster and he only really returned to form at the Tour of Switzerland, which he won overall.
After winning the Olympic time trial last year, Cancellara had a difficult spring beause of illness and injury. So the Swiss rider was delighted to be back in a dominating position in the time trials again.
“My first big target of the season was the Tour of Flanders, and that didn’t work out at all.
“After that I rode the Giro to get the kilometres in, and then after that in the Tour of Switzerland [which Cancellara won the prologue, the final time trial and the overall] I proved that I was back. And when I’m back, I ride fast.”
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