We bid a fond farewell to Fabian Cancellara. The curtain has come down on Spartacus’ glittering career in typical fashion. The Swiss legend delivering Trek-Segafredo teammate, Fumiyuki Bepputo, to victory in the Japan Cup Criterium.
Spartacus’ 16-year career included three victories at the Tour of Flanders, seven stages of the Tour de France, four of the Vuelta, four world time trial titles and two Olympic time trial gold medals. His second coming this year at the Rio Olympic Games – a fitting end to an incredible cycling career.
But it is for his three victories at Paris-Roubaix that we will remember him best …
“Every race is a war. Every race is a fight. If you don‘t go into every event with that belief, you will never achieve your goals.” – Cancellara
The Spartacus was a marked man. Defending champion on the Hell of the North. The Bernese rider in typical gladiatorial mood. Plotting a hat-trick of triumphs in this, the bleakest of spring classics. 2006, edition 104 of the Paris-Roubaix, is often remembered for three riders – Leif Hoste, Peter van Petegem and Vladimir Gusev – being disqualified by the race jury after craftily, and illegally, speeding through a closed railway crossing.
Attacking with 20 clicks to go, Cancellara chipped away at his opponents. The lead built. He found himself alone and in front. ‘It’s going to be the longest few kilometres of his life,’ mused commentator Phil Liggett as the Swiss approached the Roubaix velodrome. False. Cancellara cruised home, prevailing by over a minute.