April 7, 2013 - Switzerland's Fabian Cancelllara of RadioShack won the prestigious Paris-Roubaix Spring Classic for the third time on Sunday.
The winner from 2006 and 2010 took the grueling 254km "Queen of the Classics" race in a sprint climax ahead of Belgian Sep Vanmarcke. "At the end it was like roulette," reflected Cancellera on the dash for the line which he claimed by the length of a bike.
The 32-year-old justified his status among the favorites for this 111th edition. The top two surged clear from Belgian Stijn Vandenbergh and Czech rider Zdanek Stybar, hampered by spectators, in the 'Carrefour de l'Arbre' section of the race.
In third, half a minute behind, came Dutch champion Niki Terpstra, who edged in clear of Belgian Greg Van Avermaet and France's Damien Gaudin.
Cancellera was following up his win in last Sunday's Tour of Flanders. The 2008 Olympic time trial champion moved up to within one win of the Roubaix win record held jointly by Belgian duo Roger De Vlaeminck and Tom Boonen, the latter missing from Sunday's renewal after his fall last weekend.
After taking time to get his breath back Cancellera added: "I've never known a race as hard as this one today. A couple of times I thought it was over then I said to myself 'Roubaix is never finished, the battle never ends'. Everything was against us, against our team. I don't know how I managed to do it. I gave everything I could, now I've only got one thing on my mind - a holiday!"
Runner-up Vanmarcke said he sensed victory as the line approached. "The closer we got to the Velodrome, the more I believed in victory. I knew I could manage a good finish but Fabian was the stronger. The aim was to enter the velodrome with him, but I couldn't shake him off. I've got to be proud of what I've done, especially after these last few weeks as I should have had surgery after Tirreno-Adriatico. But I'm disappointed, extremely disappointed, I got so close!"
Cancellera became the 12th rider to achieve the Flanders/Roubaix double.2013 Paris-Roubaix Results:
1. Fabian Cancellara (SUI/RSH), 254km in 5hr 45min 33sec
2. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL/BLA) s.t.
3. Niki Terpstra (NED/OPQ) at 31sec
4. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 31
5. Damien Gaudin (FRA/EUC) s.t.
6. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/OPQ) 39,
7. Sebastian Langeveld (NED/ORI) 39
8. Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP/VAC) s.t., 9.
Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) 50
10. Sebastien Turgot (FRA/EUC) s.t.
11. Heinrich Haussler (AUS/IAM) s.t.
12. Bernhard Eisel (AUT/SKY) s.t.
13. Maarten Wijnants (BEL/BLA) s.t.
14. Lars Boom (NED/BLA) s.t.
15. Matti Breschel (DEN/SAX) s.t.