By Andrew Hood
Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) is still steaming over missing victory in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. The reigning world time trial champion tried to will his way to the top podium spot, but a mix of tactics, a lack of cooperation from breakaway partners and simply too nice of weather that made for a larger than normal peloton foiled his chances. The 26-year-old will line up Sunday as defending champion at Paris-Roubaix. He told VeloNews he has one aim. “I want to double,” he said flat out. “I don’t know if my form is as good as last year, I was a little sick at Tirreno that set me back a little, but I am stronger in the head. And Roubaix is a race that all comes down to how hard you are in the head.” Cancellara has yet to win this season, but that doesn’t worry him. At this point of his career, he says he’s only going for the big scalps and he knows they don’t come easy. Concerning Sunday, Cancellara said he’s a believer in his own chances. “I like the odds!” Cancellara said, referring on bookie’s putting him at 3-to-1 to repeat as top-favorite alongside 2005 winner Tom Boonen. “They say I’m going to win, so I cannot disappoint them, can I?” For Sunday, he refuses to get sucked into thinking that QuickStep-Innergetic leader Boonen is the only rider on his level. “Boonen isn’t the only rival at Roubaix. He’s one of the rivals but you cannot forget the others,” Cancellara said. “If you only watch one rider, then you could miss the winning move. We have a strong team, so does QuickStep. We are the two strongest teams for Roubaix.” After the classics, Cancellara will take a short break ahead of another ambitious round of racing that carries him well into the summer. He will start in his home-nation Tour de Romandie in early May, then race the Giro d’Italia ahead of the Tour de France. For the Giro, the always-direct Cancellara has clear goals. “We want to win the opening team time trial and I want to wear the maglia rosa,” Cancellara said. “I won’t race the entire Giro. I will probably race two weeks and then prepare for the Tour.” And his goal in London? Simple, says Cancellara. “To win the opening prologue and wear the maillot jaune,” he said.
Team CSC for Paris-Roubaix
Matti BreschelFabian CancellaraAllan JohansenKasper KlosergaardMarcus LjungqvistLars MichaelsenStuart O’GradyLuke Roberts
Farrar eyes June comeback
Tyler Farrar will be sidelined for at least seven weeks after suffering a hairline fracture to his left patella in a hard fall on the Kemmelberg descent in Wednesday’s Ghent-Wevelgem.The Cofidis rider will return to the United States next week to begin his rehab after doctors told him he’ll two weeks of limited activity followed by two weeks of rehabilitation before he can get back on the bike.Team officials said a return to the Tour of Belgium in early June could be possible. Farrar said Wednesday’s crash was one of the worst he’s seen in his young but extensive racing career. He said it was like a “war zone” after scores of riders fell in vain attempts to avoid the spectacular crash by Jimmy Casper (Unibet.com).
“I sat there for about 20 minutes before they took me away in ambulance. A doctor came through to see who was worse off. He asked if I could breath, if I hurt my head and to see if I was conscious,” he says. “I guess with just a cracked knee, I wasn’t too high on the priority list.”
The 22-year-old said he somersaulted over a bicycle that had fallen in his path. Barreling down the cobblestone descent at 60kph leaves little time for reaction.
“I hardly got cut at all. I just landed wrong on the knee,” Farrar said. “I would have rather traded some skin to keep my patella intact.”
Farrar took the setback in stride. The only major race on his spring classics calendar that he will miss was his planned debut at Paris-Roubaix, otherwise he fulfilled his task of being a core part of the team’s spring classics program.
He’s still hoping to be able to start a grand tour, the other major goal of his second pro season. A planned start in the Giro d’Italia will likely be switched for the Vuelta a España in September.
Cofidis for Paris-Roubaix
Kevin de WeertHerve Duclos-LassalleMichiel ElijzenMathieu HeijboerSebastien MinardNick Nuyens and Staf Scheirlinckx
Backstedt back for Roubaix
Magnus Backstedt won Paris-Roubaix in 2004, but has since been plagued by a string of setbacks and injuries. The big Swede will feel like he’s in heaven just by being able to line up to start the “Hell of the North.”
“Magnus has had any luck,” Liquigas sport director Stefano Zanatta told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Over the past few years, he’s been nothing but unlucky.”
The 32-year-old’s injury list was bolstered in October when he broke his shoulder in a track racing accident, but the incident had its benefits as doctors found a melanoma that required two surgeries and quarterly checkups.
“In the end, I am happy for that fracture,” Backstedt told La Gazzetta.
by Agence France PresseLiquigas for Paris-Roubaix
Magnus BackstedtFrancesco ChicchiMauro Da DaltoAlexsandr KuschynkiRoberto PetitoFilippo PozzatoFrederik Willems