On roads familiar to the Swiss champion, Fabian Cancellara seized his moment to attack with less than 12k to go and never looked back, taking his second career win in Strade Bianche. It’s the first season 2012 win for RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK.
“I’m very happy. Today was a special day,” said a victorious Cancellara. “This is a nice win. The Strade Bianche is a race that is booming and again it offered some really attractive racing. The team had a precise tactic today and all the little things just came together. Ben Hermans was in the first break and then when the elite group formed, Bennati did a fantastic job by attacking. I could stay calm behind and let the teams work that had more than one rider in the group.”
With sections of hard-packed dirt to race on, the look and feel of the race was reminiscent to another favorite in Cancellara’s historic wins. “This race is similar to Roubaix, I think, and it’s really important to be in the front when you hit one of the sectors. On the second to last climb, when Daniele was still out there, I saw that everybody was really tired, so I decided to try something on the last climb.”
Teammate Daniele Bennati had done his job to make the race difficult. With a group of 17 closing in fast, BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet saw a chance to move to the front. “When Greg van Avermaet went, I bridged across and when I looked back there was a gap,” explained Cancellara. “I knew that I had to keep the momentum. It’s not really like I attacked there, because I was on my limit, but I just kept going.”
Doing what he does best, Fabian ticked over the pedals in time trial mode and rode away from the group of five chasers. Originally establishing a steady gap of some 30-seconds, by the time Cancellara arrived in the Piazza del Campo in Siena, he was all alone with 42-seconds in hand to celebrate his second victory in Strade Bianche.
“Today I won because I’m mentally 100 percent strong,” said the Swiss national champion. “You have mental strength and physical strength. Physically I’m not yet 100 percent. The training I have been doing in the last days was not specific for this race. The schedule for me and the team around me is to be in the best shape at the end of March and the first part of April. That’s still the plan, but of course it’s very nice to get such a victory.”
While RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK has celebrated three victories in the Teams classification at previous races, this was the first individual win for 2012. “Most of the guys here were with me in the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman. Today, we also had Hayden Roulston, who’s back from injury, and of course home rider Daniele Bennati. The team spirit is really good.”
“When I was ‘time trialing’ to the finish, I wanted to gain as much time as possible, to be sure of the win, because the streets in Siena are really steep. I thought about my uncle, who passed away a couple of days ago. The sign I made when I crossed the finish line was for him. This win is for him,” concluded Cancellara.