Home
Spartacus could be first of three big names to tackle the Hour over the next year

Trek Factory Racing’s cobbles hardman Fabian Cancellara won’t be on the start line when the Tour de France resumes in Besançon tomorrow. The rider known as Spartacus is taking a rest before starting his preparation for the world championships in  Ponferrada, Spain September 21-28 — and maybe something even bigger.

In a team startement, Cancellara said: “I will travel home now and take a little break. The season has been long for me, starting back in Dubai. I have done 59 days of competition this season so far and I have another big goal at the end of this season: the World Championships. It’s not a secret that I’d like to be in my best shape there, so it’s important that I take some rest.”

The pavé of stage five of the Tour was expected to be Cancellara’s focus in this year’s race, but things didn’t quite go to plan. He managed a creditable fifth place on the chaotic, crash-marred stage, but more was hoped for from the three-time Paris-Roubaix winner, and it sounds like he hoped for more too.

Cancellara said: “It was not only about the cobblestones stage for me. The course for this year’s Tour is very attractive for a rider of my profile, I liked it. There were many opportunities and with a little more luck, I could have gone home with a result in the pocket. It’s been good to be back in the Tour. We lost Andy (Schleck) and Danny (Van Poppel) early on, but the team is strong and will keep on looking for opportunities.”

Trek Factory Racing team manager Luca Guercilena: “We brought Fabian to the Tour to be a factor where his skills allowed it and he didn’t disappoint. He’s a rider that always comes to a race to give everything - if you just look at how he was working for Fränk (Schleck) yesterday at 20 km from the finish in a mountain stage. Now he gets a short break and then we will build up his condition again to be at his best in Ponferrada.”

The Hour Record?

Cancellara may have another target immediately after going for his fifth time trial world championship on September 25. He put plans for an attampt on the Hour Record on ice when the UCI changed the equipment rules in May, to allow Trek to come up with a bike that met the new criteria.

Now Guercilena says the bike is ready, and Cancellara and the team just have to set a date.

“It could be after the worlds this year, after a peak in form,” Guercilena told Gregor Brown of Cycling Weekly. “You can’t wait when you’re ready. A road cyclist has to take advantage of the racing season to do it.”

He added: “We don’t have a precise date, but the new equipment is ready. Fabian’s career has been great already and as a fan, not the general manager, it’d only be right for cycling that Fabian creates a new era in Hour Record attempts.”

As for the bike Cancellara will use, sources at Trek are tight-lipped.

“It will likely be based on a Speed Concept,” Trek UK media maven Chris Garrison told us, confirming our speculation that the only way Trek could have got a bike ready so quickly was to start with an existing platform.

However, Garrison believes it won’t be quite as simple as bonding a set of track ends into a Speed Concept.

“I think that's the foundation, because that is already a slippery bike,” she said. “There will probably be some other wizardry on it, but it's all under wraps at the mo.”

If Cancellara does make an attempt on the Hour Record this year, it looks likely he will be the first of three of cycling’s biggest stars to take a crack at it. Unless of course he hits it so far out of the that Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin decide not to bother.

Wiggins told Italian sport newspaper La Gazzetta over the weekend that he was considering the Hour Record, and expected to be on a Pinarello bike, though subsequent reports indicated he has not yet confirmed a spot with Team Sky beyond this year.

Omega Pharma - Quick Step development manager Rolf Aldag has hinted that Tony Martin is also considering a tilt at the Hour.

“Now that they’ve changed the rules it makes it more interesting, it gets more technical,” he told Cycling Weekly.

“It gets more interesting for our partners, but you have to do it right, you can’t just expect to just jump on the bike and say, hey, I’m doing the Hour Record. It has to be a project, that project has to run more than a year. So if he wants to do it in 2015, then we should think about it soon.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

18 comments

Avatar
cub [86 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Nooooo contador now this my fantasy team has no chance.

Avatar
Metjas [359 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I think Spartacus, Wiggo and Panzerwagen should be having a simulcast attempt at the hour record after a proper 3-way face-off for the cameras. Live tracking of heart rate and power output included.

Avatar
DanTe [165 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

If a three way live show ever came off it would be massive.

Avatar
Him Up North [235 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I guess business is business, but stuff like this irks me a bit. If you're picked for the TdF team at least TRY to finish the damn thing...  14

Avatar
stumps [3182 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Him Up North wrote:

I guess business is business, but stuff like this irks me a bit. If you're picked for the TdF team at least TRY to finish the damn thing...  14

Totally agree with you, why enter the worlds biggest race in the knowledge that you are going to quit not even halfway through claiming that you need a rest.

I'm sure one of the younger Trek riders would have jumped at the chance to take part and tried to finish the race.

Avatar
ajmarshal1 [403 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Him Up North wrote:

I guess business is business, but stuff like this irks me a bit. If you're picked for the TdF team at least TRY to finish the damn thing...  14

I'd be royally hacked off if I was one of the Trek riders sat at home having to watch the TDF on telly.

Avatar
Pauldmorgan [217 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
stumps wrote:
Him Up North wrote:

I guess business is business, but stuff like this irks me a bit. If you're picked for the TdF team at least TRY to finish the damn thing...  14

Totally agree with you, why enter the worlds biggest race in the knowledge that you are going to quit not even halfway through claiming that you need a rest.

I'm sure one of the younger Trek riders would have jumped at the chance to take part and tried to finish the race.

Not the first time either. It's pretty poor. Tony Martin to follow?

Avatar
Must be Mad [487 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

He did the same thing at the Veluta.
I can understand that different riders are on different programs, but it does show a little disrespect to the race IMO.

At the worlds last year, many criticized the brits for abandoning early, but to me, this is just the same.

Avatar
pedalpowerDC [320 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

If a healthy Tony Martin quits the race, it won't be until after stage 20.

Avatar
MartyMcCann [194 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I don't see why Cancellara going home is such a shock or annoyance to some people-it makes perfect sense. Bear in mind his target is always the Classics and it has been a long time competition wise since the Ronde or Paris-Roubaix. This has probably been part of Trek's plans all along-they have no realistic GC contenders this Tour, and even if van Poppel had not crashed out he was unlikely to better Kittel or Greipel in the sprint stages. Generally speaking Cancellara probably knows that Tony Martin would beat him in the TT so the only stage they could target would have been stage 5 (or hope that one of Jensie's attacks sticks which is unlikely). Now stage 5 has come and gone, Trek know that Cancellara can be better utilised for potential successes later on in the year, so why risk that by adding another 11 stages for no discernible reward? As the Wiggins/Sky or Millar/Garmin issues show- there is very little room for romantic notions if you are a DS. Basically it is not in Trek's interest for Cancellara to "try and finish the damn thing" whereas getting him away from competition and rested is.

Avatar
farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
stumps wrote:

one of the younger Trek riders

Surely that's the whole team, after Jens?

Avatar
Huw Watkins [88 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Do you not think this would have been agreed and planned up front with his team management?

It's not as if he would have been any use in the mountains - he was in the team to try and take stages early in the race.

Avatar
FJM1002 [18 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Pauldmorgan wrote:
stumps wrote:
Him Up North wrote:

I guess business is business, but stuff like this irks me a bit. If you're picked for the TdF team at least TRY to finish the damn thing...  14

Totally agree with you, why enter the worlds biggest race in the knowledge that you are going to quit not even halfway through claiming that you need a rest.

I'm sure one of the younger Trek riders would have jumped at the chance to take part and tried to finish the race.

Not the first time either. It's pretty poor. Tony Martin to follow?

Martin won't abandon unless he continues to work like he has been the past few stages. If he continues to do so he may have to abandon due to sheer exhaustion

Avatar
nicholassmith [92 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Hopefully this means Trek will turn it into the Jens Ceremonial Tour and try and go for suicidal breaks.

Avatar
Him Up North [235 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Otis Bragg wrote:

I don't see why Cancellara going home is such a shock or annoyance to some people-it makes perfect sense. Bear in mind his target is always the Classics and it has been a long time competition wise since the Ronde or Paris-Roubaix. This has probably been part of Trek's plans all along-they have no realistic GC contenders this Tour, and even if van Poppel had not crashed out he was unlikely to better Kittel or Greipel in the sprint stages. Generally speaking Cancellara probably knows that Tony Martin would beat him in the TT so the only stage they could target would have been stage 5 (or hope that one of Jensie's attacks sticks which is unlikely). Now stage 5 has come and gone, Trek know that Cancellara can be better utilised for potential successes later on in the year, so why risk that by adding another 11 stages for no discernible reward? As the Wiggins/Sky or Millar/Garmin issues show- there is very little room for romantic notions if you are a DS. Basically it is not in Trek's interest for Cancellara to "try and finish the damn thing" whereas getting him away from competition and rested is.

Points taken, so why include him at all? Because he's a big name and the sponsors expect it? Like I said, business is business.

There will be a couple of hungry and ambitious Trek riders who were overlooked for this edition (Arredondo?) looking askance given what's happened to Andy Schleck and now Cancellara. I'm also reading this morning of a rumour that Bauke Mollema is heading for Trek, presumably so they can field a genuine GC contender next year instead of a bunch of show ponies.

Avatar
BikeJon [113 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Him Up North wrote:
Otis Bragg wrote:

I don't see why Cancellara going home is such a shock or annoyance to some people-it makes perfect sense. Bear in mind his target is always the Classics and it has been a long time competition wise since the Ronde or Paris-Roubaix. This has probably been part of Trek's plans all along-they have no realistic GC contenders this Tour, and even if van Poppel had not crashed out he was unlikely to better Kittel or Greipel in the sprint stages. Generally speaking Cancellara probably knows that Tony Martin would beat him in the TT so the only stage they could target would have been stage 5 (or hope that one of Jensie's attacks sticks which is unlikely). Now stage 5 has come and gone, Trek know that Cancellara can be better utilised for potential successes later on in the year, so why risk that by adding another 11 stages for no discernible reward? As the Wiggins/Sky or Millar/Garmin issues show- there is very little room for romantic notions if you are a DS. Basically it is not in Trek's interest for Cancellara to "try and finish the damn thing" whereas getting him away from competition and rested is.

Points taken, so why include him at all? Because he's a big name and the sponsors expect it? Like I said, business is business.

There will be a couple of hungry and ambitious Trek riders who were overlooked for this edition (Arredondo?) looking askance given what's happened to Andy Schleck and now Cancellara. I'm also reading this morning of a rumour that Bauke Mollema is heading for Trek, presumably so they can field a genuine GC contender next year instead of a bunch of show ponies.

From a sponsor viewpoint it would be more exposure for Cancellera to win a stage and quit than (respectfully) an anonymous rider to just get around. OK, the plan to win the stage didn't come off but I can see why they went with that plan.

Avatar
stenmeister [215 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

It's true that he did quit the Vuelta last year but he did serve as a loyal DS for Horner up until stage 17  16

I am sure he would have stayed longer in the tour if the Schlecks were in contention for GC but one retired and the other is failing.

His decision to quit may appear selfish but there is very little reason for him to stay and all that would happen is that he would suffer in the mountains.

He's a class apart so the notion that Trek might have taken another rider instead of him is ludicrous  4

Avatar
McVittees [48 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Bit off topic but did it surprise anyone else that Trek dropped Horner (despite maybe over pricing himself) in favour of the Schleks? Surely a huge market for Trek are the MAMILS, of which horner is top of the tree (aside from Jens) and so prime advertising material to a segment of the market with the deepest pockets...  39