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Fabian Cancellara The Contender
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 4/9/2006
Fabian Cancellara The Contender

Fabian Cancellara The Contender
At 25 years old Cancellara is a serious contender for success at Paris Roubaix. In the last 2 years this talented rider has been in the top 5 in the classics, this year he is showing as strong.

I've Never Been Better Ahead of a Paris-Roubaix
Even though he is only 25 years old, Team CSC's Fabian Cancellara already has a lot of experience with Paris-Roubaix – the race the riders either love or hate. The big Swiss talent belongs to the first group and he is aiming for a big result in this year's edition of the Hell of the North.

Fabio Cancellara  © Tim De Waele

Identifying the main threats, Boonen's teammate Filippo Pozzato interestingly pinpointed Fabian Cancellara as the biggest: “First of all, Cancellara, then Hincapie and Van Petegem.” The CSC man showed his form with sixth in the Tour of Flanders, and is perhaps the man with the best-equipped “engine” to challenge Boonen: give him 50 metres and, as one of the best time-trialists in professional cycling, he will take a kilometre.

”I might as well come clean and say: I've never been better ahead of a Paris-Roubaix, and I believe my results this year show that. I've built up my form, and now one of the big goals of the season is right in front of me.
This race suits me perfectly, and I've done everything I can to be ready,” says Cancellara about Sunday's monumental race, which occupies a very special place in the mythology of cycling sport, with about 50 kilometers of the race being on cobblestones, which are anything in between slippery wet and muddy to completely covered in clouds of dust – but always with a guarantee of a great race.

Fabian's face etched in effort on the way to the victory in Tirreno Adriatico Time Trial. No stranger to the podium in early races this year Cancellara is a rider who is strong in the race against the clock and a capable opponent on the pave of the Spring Classics.  Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

In the 2006 edition of the race, which took place for the first time in 1896, the organizers have reintroduced the legendary stretch by the forest in Arenberg. Other famous and infamous parts are: Orchies, Mons-en-Pévèle and also Carrefour de l'Arbre, which lies 17 kilometers before finish this year. The Queen of the classics is often won or lost on this particular stretch.

Cancellara knows the route down to the smallest detail, and on Thursday he was out inspecting the condition of the pavees on the last 100 kilometers along with the rest of the Team CSC crew.

Stage 5 Podium Fabian!!!  photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

”Paris-Roubaix is so special and so unlike any other race – it resembles a very long and difficult time trail a bit! And then again maybe not, because you so need a good team behind you, and I really feel we have a lot to offer in that department, both in terms of experience and in terms of riders who are willing to sacrifice themselves. At the same time we have the perfect team for this race and that could turn out to be vital. Of course you also need luck in Paris-Roubaix, because there are so many crashes and punctures that can stop you in your tracks. We have done everything possible to minimize these risks, and the rest is up to the riders. One thing is for sure: It will be tough, it's gonna hurt – and strange as it may sound – I'm really looking forward to it,” finishes Cancellara.

CSC Comments after Stage 5 TT Tirreno Adriatico:
 ”I've been anticipating my first victory for Team CSC and I'm very happy with the timing on top of a week which has been full of bad luck for the team. It's a perfect time to send a positive signal that we're on the right track after all. For me the victory is also confirmation that my form is there in time for the classics. I've worked hard over winter and look forward to challenging the cobble stones of the north,” said Fabian Cancellara following his victory.

”Fabian is a fantastic time trial specialist and he's the type of rider who'll win when his form is present. It's good to see him almost ready for the classics and I can feel he's very eager to do well. He's an exciting rider to work with and it's only natural that we have high expectations for him. Ivan also did well in the time trial but was unlucky with the weather. He would've lost considerably less time to Fabian if he hadn't hit such bad weather, but he has every reason to be satisfied with his performance. Karsten Kroon did the best time trial I've ever seen him do, so he made a really good impression today,” said Bjarne Riis.

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