Cancellara Scores Third Tour of Flanders Victory
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) has joined Achiel Buysse, Fiorenzo Magni, Eric Leman, Johan Museeuw, and Tom Boonen as a three-time winner of the Tour of Flanders.
Fabian Cancellara (Trek) has joined Achiel Buysse, Fiorenzo Magni, Eric Leman, Johan Museeuw, and Tom Boonen as a three-time winner of the Tour of Flanders. The man called Spartacus took a four-up sprint to win the rugged, 259.1-km Ronde Van Vlaanderen ride from Brugge to Oudenaarde in 6:15:18. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) finished second, and Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) finished third.
Rain greeted the riders at the start in Brugge. The field rode about 40 km before a break formed. Stig Broeckx (Lotto-Belisol), Davide Appolonio (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Daryl Impey (GreenEdge), Raymond Kreder (Garmin-Sharp-POC),Wesley Kreder and James Vanlandschoot (both from Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Alexander Kuchynski (Katusha), Andrea Palini (Lampre-Merida), Taylor Phinney (BMC), Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), and Romain Zingle (Cofidis) jumped clear, and the 11 riders quickly forged a four-minute lead over the peloton.
Behind, a nervous peloton dealt with crashes. In separate incidents, Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge) and Simon Le Bon (FDJ.fr) crashed out early, and Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Sharp-POC) struck a pedestrian at an unmarked traffic island, with the collision sending the 2011 Paris-Roubaix champion and the spectator to a hospital. Vanmarcke crashed but remounted and got back into the action.
When the peloton passed through Oudenaarde for the first time, the break led the bunch by six minutes. On the first ascent of the Oude Kwaremont, the bunch shaved a minute off of the escapees’ lead. Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol), who finished third last year, crashed and abandoned.
On the approach to the Paddestraat, more mayhem occurred. A large crash took down Luca Paolini (Katusha) and two-time Tour de Flanders champion Stijn Devolder (Trek) and split the peloton. Omega Pharma-Quick Step went to the front of the lead group and began to hammer.
The crashes continued. Yaroslav Popovych (Trek) went down and abandoned when he struck a pedestrian, and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) crashed at a bus stop platform. Attrition took its toll, and on the pave at the Haaghoek, the break was down to seven riders. The fugitives led the field by three minutes.
On the run up to the Kanarieberg, the peloton accelerated, and the escapees’ advantage narrowed to two minutes. Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Manuel Quinziato (BMC) attacked, and Bernhard Eisel (Sky Pro Cycling) joined the pair. At the base of the second ascent of the Oude Kwaremont, only Impey, Phinney, and Broeckx remained in front. Another crash took down Devolders, along with four Tinkoff-Saxo Bank riders.
As the race approached the Koppenberg, Impey, Broeckx, and Phinney led a 40-rider chase group by about 0:30, with Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp-POC) in a second group and Van Avermaet in a third group nearly a minute off the pace. Impey breasted the climb with a small lead over a group consisting of Niki Terpstra, Stijn Vandenbergh, Zdenek Stybar, and Tom Boonen (all from Omega Pharma-Quick Step); Cancellara; Peter Sagan (Cannondale); Vanmarcke; Geraint Thomas (Sky); John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano); and Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida), among others. Vandenbergh, Dries Devenyns (Giant-Shimano), and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) attacked.
On the Taaienberg, Boasson Hagen and Devenyns dropped Vandenbergh. The lead group was just seconds behind