Cancellara Wins Third Strade Bianche
In a show that his final professional season will be one for the history books, Fabian Cancellara claimed his third victory in Strade Bianche Saturday, crossing the line just ahead of last year’s winner Zdenek Stybar (Etixx Quick Step).
“This year I really want to go out with a bang,” said Cancellara. “I want to thank all my teammates for supporting me today, and all these years. This is just amazing!
“I knew that Stybar is a cyclocross guy, so I had to be careful for him. He won last year as well, and he is very good at this last climb. I am very, very happy. Third time?and now they will name a white gravel section after me, and that’s exciting.”
Etixx-Quick Step teammate Gianluca Brambilla rolled across the line for the final podium spot after riding out front in the break for most of the race and trying his best to thwart the stronger legs of Cancellara and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) with a few attacks in the final eight kilometers.
Brambilla opened a dangerous gap with six kilometers to go, but the calm experience of Cancellara, and with reassurance from the team car, he played his last cards perfectly.
“For sure the car gave me the last confidence for the win,” explained Cancellara about the tactical battle in the closing kilometers. “They helped me play with the tactics of the Etixx guys. They told me also to let Sagan work [in the chase] and that we don’t give too many seconds to Brambilla. He was already in the front all day, so I could catch him in the last climb, and we can play there. Everything went perfectly well.
“I made the pace on the final climb because I knew that Sagan would not do it because I saw him already in a little bit of difficulty. I knew that it was probably going to be Stybar and me, so I had to play like this.
“This is special. I had to play at the end, it was a lottery. I knew I had to risk. I had trust in myself; it was experience. I knew that Etixx was going to play the team game and I just had to make sure that Brambilla did not take too much time.
“The most decisive moment was when Peter made the acceleration and I managed to jump up to him and Stybar. It wasn’t a big collaboration between us because we are all big riders, plus Etixx had a team game to play. I think my work in the last 5 kilometers was risky, but it was the only way. It all worked out and I am proud.”