Fabian Cancellara won Paris-Roubaix for the second time this afternoon, following his stunning solo win in the Tour of Flanders last weekend with another sensational breakaway victory, attacking 50 kilometres out and eventually riding into the Roubaix velodrome two and a half minutes ahead of his closest pursuers.
Last week, the Swiss Team Saxo Bank rider waited until 15 kilometres from the line to launch the attack on the Muur that ended Quick Step rider Tom Boonen’s hopes of a win in Belgium.
Today, he made his move with a full 50 kilometres remaining of the 259-kilometre race, nicknamed the Hell of the North, which includes 27 punishing sections of pavé.
His move came shortly after Boonen had made a couple of feints as though he were testing Cancellara’s strength ahead of the race’s conclusion as he sought to reverse last week’s result, but when the Swiss rider made his move, it was swift, unexpected, and brutally decisive.
Riding in a group that besides Boonen contained big hitters including Team Sky’s Juan Antonio Flecha, Katusha’s Filippo Pozzato and Cervelo TestTeam’s Thor Hushovd, the latter accompanied by his British team mate Roger Hammond, Cancellara, who had been forced to make a bike change with 75 kilometres left, drifted behind his rivals before putting in a burst of acceleration that left them powerless to respond.
Within minutes, the World and Olympic Time Trial Champion had bridged the gap to the three escapees further up the road, Björn Leukemans, Sébastien Hinault and Leif Hoste, swiftly leaving them behind. Over the next 12 kilometres, Cancellara opened up a lead of a minute, and he continued to extend his advantage, at one point getting a full three minutes ahead of his pursuers.
The latter were left scrapping over the remaining two podium places, and one by one the riders dropped off until Flecha and Hushovd were left alone to battle it out for second, the Team Sky rider leading the big Norwegian into the Velodrome before – you guessed it – the Cervelo TestTeam rider used his sprinting strength to overhaul the Spaniard in the home straight.
Boonen’s misery was completed when Hammond, placed seventh in the Tour of Flanders last Sunday, rounded off a memorable week by holding off the Belgian on the line to take fourth, one place lower than his third position in the 2004 edition of the race.
Top 20 Paris Roubaix 2010
1) Fabian Cancellara (SAX) 6:35:10 2) Thor Hushovd (CTT) +2:00 3) Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) +2:00 4) Roger Hammond (CTT) +3:14 5) Tom Boonen (QST) +3:14 6) Björn Leukemans (VAC) +3:20 7) Filippo Pozzato (KAT) +3:46 8) Leif Hoste (OLO) +5:16 9) Sébastien Hinault (ALM) +6:27 10) Hayden Roulston (THR) +6:59 11) Grégory Rast (RSH) +7:00 12) Arnaud Coyot (GCE) +7:05 13) Tom Veelers (SKS) +7:05 14) Dominic Klemme (SAX) +7:05 15) Maarten Wynants (QST) +7:05 16) Mikhail Khalilov (KAT) +7:05 17) Lloyd Mondory (ALM) +7:05 18) Jeremy Hunt (CTT) +7:05 19) Frédéric Guesdon (FDJ) +7:05 20) Mathieu Claude (BTL) +7:05
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.