Must Reads: Cancellara’s painful second place, Quintero: ‘Thank God I’m alive’

Cancellara's painful second place at Milan-San Remo, Valverde to take on Gilbert and Evans, Taaramae out with mono, Quintero: "Thank God I'm alive."

Cancellara’s second place in San Remo more painful than 2011—

Fabian Cancellara did what he could on Saturday: he influenced the finale and played his trump card at the right moment. But it wasn’t enough, and he left San Remo as a bridesmaid for the second year running.

“I concede that the second leaves me with a more bitter taste in the mouth than in 2011,” Cancellara told “After 300 km, there is always a chance against a rider who is not a pure sprinter. Obviously, if I had eyes in the back of my head, I might have quickly realized that I was taking the Australian behind me, in an armchair, to victory. On the other hand, I was also obsessed with the possible return of a larger group, which was never more than a few seconds behind us. I would not have done all this work for nothing.”

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Boonen: Less respect in the bunch than in the past — Omega Pharma-Quick Step

In a blog entry on the Omega Pharma team’s website, Tom Boonen writes about the frantic finale at Milan-San Remo and the mental game that is big-time sprinting.

“In the 10 years I’ve been part of the bunch a lot changed,” he writes. “In the past there was more respect. McEwen, Petacchi, Zabel and Cipollini said ‘Ok, you were fast today. I will win tomorrow’. Nowadays the guys take too big of risks. They push the line sometimes. Even if you have to explain it time after time it is hard to get by the supporters: we have the right to live our own life. When it is too dangerous, I just don’t take part of it.”

Valverde’s goals: the Ardennes, and the Tour — L’Equipe

Following his strong performance in Paris-Nice, Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde has his sights set on the hilly Classics as well as the Tour de France.

”For me, Gilbert was the best rider of last year. Hopefully I can make a nice battle with him during the Ardennes classics,” he said in a video interview with L’Equipe. The Spaniard’s other major goal this year is the Tour de France, and he believes he can don the yellow jersey. “I think I can fight for a top result. It is clear that many [time] trial kilometers favors Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans.”

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Rein Taaramae out with mononucleosis — L’Equipe

Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer announced Monday that Rein Taaramae has mononucleosis, and will stay off his bike for at least ten days. The Estonian rider has withdrawn from the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and returned home to rest.

“He will resume training based on test results, depending on changes in his health,” said Boyer.

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Carlos Quintero: “I thank God I’m alive” — Het Nieuwsblad

After his harrowing crash on the descent of Le Mànie with 100km to go in Milan-San Remo Saturday, 26-year-old Carlos Quintero of the Colombia-Coldeportes team feels he is lucky to be alive. Quintero ran into a stone wall and lost consciousness. He is now home recovering from the head injury and a broken collarbone.

“I have seen pictures of my fall on YouTube and I am shocked,” Quintero told the Belga news agency. “The only thing I remember is that in this section I deviated from the ideal line and flew into a carpet of flowers, nothing more. I thank God that I’ve been lucky and I am alive.”

Quintero expects to return to racing in early April.

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