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 !