Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) cruised to victory in the 94th Tour of Flanders on Sunday, claiming his third major one-day event after the Milan-San Remo and the Paris-Roubaix.
AFP - Saxo Bank rider Fabian Cancellara ended Switzerland's long wait for victory in the Tour of Flanders one-day classic Sunday with a superb solo attack 15km from the finish.
Belgium's two-time winner Tom Boonen, of Quick Step, finished runner-up in the 261km race at just over a minute behind after being dropped on the penultimate cobbled climb.
Cancellara, only the second Swiss to win the biggest one-day race in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium after Henry Suter in 1923, thus claims his third cycling 'Monument' - of which only five exist - after his Milan SanRemo win in 2006 and his Paris-Roubaix triumph in 2008.
Olympic time trial champion Cancellara and 2005 world champion Boonen appeared to have the race sewn up as they raced side by side with less than 20 km to go and several pelotons well adrift in their wake.
However, Boonen's reputation for being a faster sprinter condemned Cancellara into attacking before they made it to the home straight.
Early on the penultimate of the race's 15 cobbled climbs Cancellara looked to be feigning a brief bout of fatigue, only to hammer past Boonen to leave the tiring Belgian in his wake.
Cancellara's time trial skills did the rest and soon had him well in front with only one climb, the Bosberg, to negotiate.
Boonen fought valiantly, but his deficit grew steadily and with only four kilometres to race he was already a minute behind.
The Belgian eventually came over the finish line to claim his second successive runner-up place in a one-day classic after he was beaten to victory in Milan-SanRemo by Spaniard Oscar Freire.
Belgian Philippe Gilbert finished third, the same as last year, with compatriot Bjorn Leukemans in fourth.
A first chasing peloton crossed the finish line over two minutes behind Cancellara.
Date created : 2010-04-04