If you have never watched a cycling road race I recommend that next year to find the time to watch the Paris-Roubaix even though this year the race was dry it was full of drama. It is also whether wet or dry one race where only the strongest are going to win as there isn't room to hide in the peleton if you want to stand on top of the podium. The Hell of the North as it is called is truly a strong man's race.
This year going in as I said myself yesterday the big question was is any other cyclist, as opposed to a mechanical incident or a crash going to deny the Swiss Radioshack-Leopard Trek rider from claiming his third classic of the season and third Paris-Roubaix.
There was some doubts at times in the race if Cancellera was going to be able to do it again. He was at once point in the fourth group on the road and heading back to his team car. With a little over 40 km to go it did not look like he would follow up his win the the Tour of Flanders last weekend. He did make a surge but brought about 30 people with him in his wheel as he was preparing to make the final selection. But there were attacks being launched off the front and it didn't look like Cancellara was able to cover everything.
Then with two groups and one individual up the road he put in and push just before the Le Carrefour de l'Arbre (section 4) bring Bernie Eisel (SKY), Niki Tersptra (OPQ), Lars Boom (BLA) were the only ones able to mark him as he applied the pressure going after two groups up the road.
But then he closed down on the next group with included Zdeněk Štybar (OPQ), when he kicked again with about 28km to go on Gruson stretch of pavé (section 3) after Stijn Vandenbergh (OPQ) and Sep Vanmarke (BLA) who were up the road only Štybar was able to keep his wheel.
Cancellara did try at one point to apply the pressure with about 4km to go when he was being called through by Vanmarke but the Belgian was quickly able to limit that chance and so it was that the 111th Paris Roubaix came down to the famous velodrome track that now ends this famous race. Cancellara managed to force Vanmarke to the front as they entered the track. But Vanmarke went up on the banking trying to make Cancellara come back past him. But the Swiss rider showed he had some sprinter's skills as he kept station and then when Vanmarke opened up the sprint of the last bend Cancellara timed his surge perfectly to take the race on the line by about a bike length as they were gaining on the second group who ended up just one circuit of the velodrome behind. Brave Štybar had been dropped by the chasing group but led out the third group to take 6th place in only his second full season concentrating on the roads.
So Cancellara has been the man of March and April so far. he didn't quite have the sprint in Milan-San Remo, but this time he was ready for a track sprint to go with his two wins that were both time trial lone breaks.