Spartacus talks about sitting in the saddle, pre-race recce and lucky charms

Team Saxo Bank’s Fabian Cancellara has been talking about his stunning attack on the Muur in last Sunday’s Tour of Flanders which left Quick Step rider Tom Boonen for dead and enabled the World and Olympic Time Trial Champion to use his unparalleled skills in that discipline to power his way to victory in the closing 15 kilometres.

In a three-part video on the I Am Specialized website – perhaps in his case, I Am Spartacus would be more appropriate – Cancellara reveals that riding up the Muur in the saddle, while other riders were forced to stand up on the pedals, was less a result of the ease with which he tackled the climb, and more because of the tightness he felt in his leg muscles when he himself tried to get out of the saddle.

He also said that his attack was more due to instinct as a result of the way the race was panning out, rather than as part of any pre-race plan, although it’s clear that his pre-race recce had reaped dividends, as highlighted by knowing which line to take on the Muur to find the more forgiving cobbles. And it seems that having a two-way radio link that allowed him to know the exact moment Boonen looked vulnerable didn’t hurt, either.

The Swiss rider also revealed that he rode the race with a lucky angel charm in his pocket that had been given to him by his wife and daughter, and which was dedicated to last Sunday’s date, 4 April. And the rest of the peloton had better beware – he has another one carrying next Sunday’s date, 11 April, when he’ll be looking to win Paris-Roubaix for the second time.

Parts II and III of the video follow below.



Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.