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Fabian Cancellara says he can repeat cobbles double

  • By Brian Holcombe
  • Published Mar. 8, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 8, 2011 at 7:53 PM EDT

Cancellara at a Tirreno-Adriatico news conference Tuesday. Photo: Brad Kaminski

MARINA DI CARRARA, Italy (VN) — Fabian Cancellara is confident. But who isn’t? The classics leader for Leopard-Trek will start Tirreno-Adriatico with the stage 1 team time trial on Wednesday. He told reporters Tuesday that he sees no reason that he can’t repeat his double feat of Tour of Flanders/Paris-Roubaix wins from 2010.

“I’m not afraid of anything,” said Cancellara. “I feel good and when everything goes well and when I go up in condition in the same way as last year, then I’m fast and strong and I’m there.”

Flanders/Roubaix doubles

Fabian Cancellara (2010)
Tom Boonen (2005)
Peter Van Petegem (2003)
Roger De Vlaeminck (1977)
Rik Van Looy (1962)
Fred De Bruyne (1957)
Raymond Impanis (1954)
Gaston Rebry (1934)
Romain Gijssels (1932)
Henri Suter (1923)

The cobbled double is a rare feat. When Cancellara closed a long solo flier alone in the Roubaix velodrome last April, he became just the 10th rider to do so. At more than 500km and with danger around nearly every corner, a single win in one of the cobbled monuments is a career-maker. To earn both, solo, in a season is a legend-maker.

“Everything has to fit in all those two days and those days are long and will be hard,” said Cancellara. “There are a lot of other riders, but for sure, already when they are looking only on one rider they are going to lose the races. That’s for sure. I hope in 2007 everybody remembers how they lost in Roubaix. We still won with (Stuart) O’Grady and we changed our plans.”

O’Grady took advantage four years ago when the top favorites marked each other out of the race. In 2010, Cancellara’s rivals in the contendors’ group at Roubaix watched him hawkishly — until the world champion time trialist rode away from them in the saddle 50km from the finish.

When asked if the success he saw in 2010 created impossible expectations, Cancellara said that his own goals are more elevated than any external pressure he faces.

“My bar is always high,” he said. “I have a high bar already by my own ambitions, but that’s another problem. It starts again from zero. I won last year and maybe the way I won made the bar higher, but first of all I have to try and find the condition, the best form. The other riders will do well again and then a week before, a day before, you see the real … the favorites.”

Cancellara will search for that condition this week at Tirreno-Adriatico ahead of the first monument of the year, Milan-San Remo, on March 19. He has yet to win for his new Leopard team in 2011, but said that his confidence is as high as ever. “Never show too early that you’re good,” said Cancellara. “But when you know a lot of riders and you experience the attacks, you know well.”

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Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe is the editor of VeloNews.com. Holcombe joined VeloNews in 2009 following years spent introducing students to whitewater kayaking and working in avalanche control, among other more risky ventures. A Master of PR and Marketing Communications, his graduate work at the University of Denver focused on innovation, digital media management and custom publishing. Holcombe is a CSU Ram fan and proud parent, and has been accused of attacking too much on the VN lunch ride. Follow him on Twitter @FCBrian.

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