Cancellara, a man for all seasons?

After his latest alleged outburst, is "Spartacus" all that?

by jimmythecuckoo   August 27, 2014  

Cancellara does the work, Milan-San Remo 2012 (© Daniele Badolato, LaPresse via RCS Sport)

Fabian Cancellara is the man for all seasons. He has won over half of the sports monuments with Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders (x3) and Paris Roubaix (x3).

Whilst Liege-Bastogne-Liege is probably beyond his climbing abilities, he could just about scrape a Tour of Lombardy should his motivation hold until the end of the season.

He has also won 8 stages of the Tour de France, been a multiple yellow jersey, and bagged 3 Vuelta stages to boot.

2 Olympic medals and 7 world championship medals (x4 gold) show that this is a man who has been a true legend on a bike.

There were spurious rumours about his Trek having a small seat post mounted motor when he was at his zenith. This was down to helicopter footage of his 2010 Roubaix win when a specific angle of filming showed him accelerate past the other members of the leading group at an estimated 50kph on cobbles... sitting down.

That no motor was ever found showed this guy was a hard man.

But already the veneer was starting to dull its shine as far as I am concerned. Famously he neutralised a Tour de France stage whilst wearing yellow. He deemed the roads into Liege had been made too greasy by a sudden rain shower. Fans cried foul as his team leaders, the mostly forgotten Andy and Frank Schleck were delayed in the melee.

Others around the sport cried “hero”, claiming it was the work of a true peloton Patron to take ownership at a crucial moment like that sparing the race from losing crucial riders in a hell for leather dash out of the Ardennes.

But this whinging seemed to carry on, especially rubbing off on his team who seemed to moan every time the road either went downhill or there was rain. The Schlecks famously losing Tour de France time into St Etienne in 2011 when both a decent and the wet stuff came into play.

“The Tour shouldn’t be won on a downhill” was the Radioshack message. The TV pundits retorted by saying a true champion of bike racing can win a race anywhere and protects themselves from losing anywhere.

I had hoped that this sort of nonsense might be behind us, especially after Fabian finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the big three spring classics of 2014. 

But yesterday at the Tour of Spain a number of media sources quoted Cancellara as saying it was too hot to ride in the Southern part of the country.

Whilst many now just roll their eyes and say “Oh Fabian’s at it again”... I just hope that the weather at the world championships is not too cold, too hot, too dry or too wet for him !

There is no way any of this tarnishes his legacy or record as a rider. In fact this is mainly a tongue in cheek piece from a rider who looks at his Palmares and would be satisfied with a fraction of what he has achieved. I just don’t like him moaning !

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Wasn't there footage of him later on in the day caked in salt from sweating so much?

posted by Scoob_84 [340 posts]
27th August 2014 - 9:43

13 Likes

Enjoyed reading this - as you say, it's hardly for us to criticise being mere mortals, trundling around the countryside in moderate to mild conditions, but there is a bit of the Goldilocks about him at the moment!

Twitter: @velosam

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posted by SamShaw [316 posts]
27th August 2014 - 9:52

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Man from Switzerland in "It's a bit hot here" shocker.

Seriously though, the argument seems to be based on this comment plus one stage neutralisation that might actually have been based on safety concerns. I also hardly think what the Schlecks do, even when they manage to stay off the sauce and on the bike, can be pinned on Fabian.

No particular reason to think he didn't say something about the heat, although some context might be nice, and his form is a bit shit (well... "up and down" might be kinder) but I think it's stretching things somewhat to be labelling him a Prima Donna Smile

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [1220 posts]
27th August 2014 - 10:35

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Yes, anyone here ridden in 40 degree plus heat will know how hard it can be, let alone to race at pro level speeds. Think its purely a safety comment from Spartacus, a rider could easily collapse from dehydration or heat exhaustion. It is easy to criticise and say its what they are paid to do i guess.

posted by Hopalongsteve [70 posts]
27th August 2014 - 10:42

10 Likes

Anyone who follows him on twitter will know he is a just a moaner. About everything.
He moans about traffic/ motorway toll fees/ people not wearing helmets/ the price of bread.
He is basically turning into a grumpy old man and a bit of an arrogant one at that.

posted by Some Fella [904 posts]
27th August 2014 - 10:56

4 Likes

(Disclaimer: he's my favourite current rider, and one of my all time favourites).

He does like a good moan about rider safety, justified or not - but if anyone has ridden with me in over 30 degree temperatures (my max so far is about 35 degrees), they've heard some choice quotes which probably wouldn't be printable. The beauty of, and the problem with, cycling is the accessibility of the riders. There is access to them before racing, whilst racing, after racing. Even the uninteresting remarks can get turned into a drama. And let's be honest, there have been a lot more interesting remarks than this - take Cav's annual on-bus explosions, for example.

As for his stage neutralization, of course he was doing it to help the Schleck's. The man gets paid large sums of money to perform in the classics and look after his team leaders at the Tour - playing every card he can in a given situation is part of the job.

I have to agree, I'd prefer it if he didn't moan as much too, but I do think it gets blown out of proportion. And I'll happily take the odd whinge if it means spectacular performances in all my favourite races.

posted by step-hent [716 posts]
27th August 2014 - 11:04

3 Likes

@f_cancellara · 10m
I think this stage yesterday goes on my top 3 regarding hot stages...my @srmtraining powercontrol had 45 C*. The team car had 41C* #pocoLoco

And about the day before:
@f_cancellara · Aug 25
I lost 4,5kg weight today.was constant drinking and got still cramps i empty my hohle body.soloution was simply= motor over heatet.#crazy
@f_cancellara · Aug 25
is there no rules regarding heat in cycling.dear @UCI_cycling do not just decide about equipment rules.tink about the health as well.#meteo

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1347 posts]
27th August 2014 - 15:57

10 Likes

Well this was a nothing story. Well done Road.cc.
In other news, every rider complains about something.

posted by J90 [243 posts]
27th August 2014 - 20:53

5 Likes

jimmythecuckoo wrote:
@f_cancellara · 10m
I think this stage yesterday goes on my top 3 regarding hot stages...my @srmtraining powercontrol had 45 C*. The team car had 41C* #pocoLoco

And about the day before:
@f_cancellara · Aug 25
I lost 4,5kg weight today.was constant drinking and got still cramps i empty my hohle body.soloution was simply= motor over heatet.#crazy
@f_cancellara · Aug 25
is there no rules regarding heat in cycling.dear @UCI_cycling do not just decide about equipment rules.tink about the health as well.#meteo

Yes ? A lot of riders have been talking about the heat at the moment - not entirely surprising in what is more or less the hottest part of Europe.... and ?

Agree with J90, it's a nothing story - more straw man than anything. Surely there must be something else more interesting to write about ?

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [1220 posts]
27th August 2014 - 23:08

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I am open to your suggestions... ?

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1347 posts]
28th August 2014 - 10:53

5 Likes

jimmythecuckoo wrote:
I am open to your suggestions... ?

Dunno - personally I enjoy reading about your fabulously skewed passion for cobbles and bits on early year European racing, so maybe something on the ENECO tour ? You could even include some of the mulling-overs from the riders if it's a 'rider safety' angle you fancy...

This one just seemed a tad stretched and tittle-tattlely to me, but that's just an opinion. and the only blog post of yours i've not liked - maybe i'm just getting old and bitter like a Swiss cyclist Smile

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [1220 posts]
28th August 2014 - 11:34

1 Like

I'm happy to hear opinions from pros. Even more so if they are free from PR censorship. I might not agree with them, but its just another facet of entertainment that cyclesport can provide. I'm sure I would come up with all sorts of ill conceived rants during the course of extreme endurance activities, dehydration, exhaustion and competition. He wouldn't be the first bloke to like a good rant every now and then, as I'm sure 99% of the clientele on here could sympathise with. I'd be more annoyed if he tweeted daily bland remarks about how lovely the stage was, and how his team were so fantastic, blah blah blah.

posted by Hoester [67 posts]
28th August 2014 - 13:18

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fukawitribe wrote:
jimmythecuckoo wrote:
I am open to your suggestions... ?

Dunno - personally I enjoy reading about your fabulously skewed passion for cobbles and bits on early year European racing, so maybe something on the ENECO tour ? You could even include some of the mulling-overs from the riders if it's a 'rider safety' angle you fancy...

This one just seemed a tad stretched and tittle-tattlely to me, but that's just an opinion. and the only blog post of yours i've not liked - maybe i'm just getting old and bitter like a Swiss cyclist Smile


Thanks for your kind words. Will up my game and get onto my Eneco Tour spy for some source material for a piece.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1347 posts]
28th August 2014 - 20:41

1 Like

WTF is this daft article.

posted by dogcc [138 posts]
28th August 2014 - 22:30

1 Like

Laughing

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1347 posts]
31st August 2014 - 13:43

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I thought Matthews's commenting about non-sprinters getting involved in the sprint finish was worse.

posted by DrJDog [254 posts]
1st September 2014 - 14:08

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That's an interesting one isn't it?

GC guys are getting more and more involved in riding near the front on flat stages.

Its under the premise of keeping out of trouble but if you look at Talansky at the Tour de France, it didn't work out that way.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1347 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 10:37

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According to ITV he moaned about the tt course today... just saying Big Grin

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1347 posts]
2nd September 2014 - 19:24

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Cancellara's a good rider but he also comes across as a self-centered tool. Then again, we've got El Dopado who just won the Vuelta and the Rabbit Killer who came second. There aren't many of them you'd want over for dinner to meet the family.

posted by Gordy748 [104 posts]
15th September 2014 - 19:27

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40 degrees is a bugger but then he could just slow down.
Wet descents are the same. The worst alpine descent in the snow won't be as slippery as your average CX race .
No one moaned in the good old days.
Today, cycling is like everything else. People tend to try to modify things to suit themselves rather than get on with it. It's a sad fact of modern life.

posted by mattsccm [310 posts]
17th September 2014 - 9:44

2 Likes