De Ronde: Fabs & French Hopefuls

Yucks with Cancellara spilling beer at the post-race

Going, going... Gone!

What else can you say about Fabian Cancellara's fabulous Easter day ride? How about ... Redemption.

The Swiss Bear performed a bear hug on wunderkind Peter Sagan on the final hill, the Paterberg, leaving the Slovak and Jurgen Roelandts gasping for air. That moment defined the return of Spartacus. "It's just amazing. One year ago, I was on the ground and now I'm back and I won Flanders as a big favourite. It was not easy. I'm just happy, really happy."

The Queen of the Classics is a week away, and Cancellara is now a heavy favorite to win his third Hell of the North. For now, he will rest have a beer (at post-race interview) and dare to dream of a third cobblestone trophy. For Sagan, a second is a great result and time is on his side. He will not be riding Paris-Roubaix but will go for Amstel Gold.

As all eyes were on the Cancellara vs Sagan duel the French are quietly making classic inroads.

FDJ's Matthieu Ladagnous took fifth place and looks towards P-R, he was twelve last year. "I finished sixth in Gent Wevelgem, fifth in the Tour of Flanders and I think I'm in for a really good Paris Roubaix." Sebastien Turgot (Team Europcar) rode solidly for eighth and looks in form to take another attempt in P-R.

The worst misfortune of the day is Tom Boonen, early in the race, injured his hip and is out of the classics for the season. A reversal of last season between the two classic stars; Boonen will have to sit out of P-R and Cancellara will go on looking for a certain cobbled trophy!

Part of the Cannondale squad goes down 
on top of the steep Koppenberg
photo: Yves Logghe