Cycling: Fabian Cancellara takes glorious Tour of Flanders win


Fabian Cancellara powered to victory as he grabbed his second Tour of Flanders title ahead of main rival Peter Sagan. The Swiss rider broke clear of the field on the final climb of the day to win by one minute and 26 seconds ahead of Slovak Sagan and Jurgen Roelandts. Defending champion Tom Boonen crashed out in what is the second of the season's monument races, after the Milan - San Remo and before the Paris - Roubaix.

The 256km race, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, is one of the most prestigious one-day races of the season, featuring 17 short climbs and 17 cobbled sections. Emotions were high early on as defending champions Boonen was taken out after just 19km due to a crash, the rider was taken to the hospital with a hip injury along with several wounds to his elbows and knees.

Cancellara and Sagan were the big favourites and they didn't let down their numerous fans as they attacked and took the lead of the race before the final climb. But on that climb, the Paterberg, Cancellara upped the pace and Sagan was unable to cling on to his wheel. With 13 kilometers left until the finish Cancellara trucked on, going steadily past 50 kilometers per hour and building up a comfortable gap over Sagan and Roelandts. That gap allowed him to sit up and cruise over the line after six hours, five minutes and 58 seconds in the saddle.

"The goal was to win but you can't predict how that's going to happen," said Cancellara. "Everyone did a great job, the team did fantastic and in the end everyone expected I would go on the Paterberg. I had a nice feeling on the cobbles that I could go. On these cobbles I have this special thing and I saw many Swiss flags so I did what I had to do and bring the Ronde home. It's amazing. One year ago I was on the ground after crashing out of the Tour of Flanders and now I'm back and I've won. Winning as a big favourite is not easy but I'm very happy."

The next huge race of the Spring Classics is the Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, 7 April, a race known by cycling fans all over the world as the 'Hell of the North'. Cancellara last won that race in 2010, the year he won his first Tour of Flanders, and he is the undeniable favourite to win it once again. Here are the odds for the top five favourites in the Paris-Roubaix at Bet365:

Fabian Cancellara - 4/6
Thor Hushovd - 11/1
Taylor Phinney - 13/1
Sylvain Chavanel - 15/1
Ian Stannard - 15/1

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