April 9, 2014 by Irish Peloton
Cancellara – Record Breaker
Twitter is a transient beast. Almost as soon as you plop a thought or a fact or a piece of nonsense on the screen…it’s gone. For all it’s worth, an adequate Twitter search engine still does not exist, rendering this transient information largely inaccessible.
During Fabian Cancellara’s displays of strength in this year’s Milan San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, I happened across a few facts pertaining to his incredible consistency in the monument classics, tweeted them, but now they’re gone. So I’ve collected a few of the better ones here to illustrate just how impressive Cancellara has been over the past few years.
We look back on the achievements of Merckx, Hinault, Van Looy and Kelly and think the likes will never be seen again. But Cancellara is here, right now and he’s doing these things that are just as amazing as his predecessors. Fans will look back in 10, 20, 50 years time and wonder what it was like to watch Cancellara winning races live….
Cancellara has now won seven monument classics
Seven wins puts Cancellara in joint seventh place on the all time list of monument winners alongside Tom Boonen and Gino Bartali. If he wins Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, he will occupy joint sixth place on this list alongside Rik van Looy. Considering that Van Looy is often spoken of in the same breath as Eddy Merckx when it comes to winning classics, this would be quite an achievement.
Cancellara has finished 11 monument classics in a row on the podium
There’s a couple of slight caveats to this one. In amongst this streak was a crash and a DNF at the 2012 Tour of Flanders. It also ignores Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy because Cancellara never rides them. So this amazing streak consists of the last 11 monuments that Cancellara has ridden and finished. Four Milan San Remos, four Tours of Flanders and three Paris-Roubaixs.
If we apply the same rules to other riders, amazingly, 11 in a row is not a record. The current record stands at 12 which was achieved by Costante Girardengo in Milan San Remo and the Tour of Lombardy between 1918 and 1925. But during this time Girardengo rode and (voluntarily) abandoned Paris-Roubaix on several occassions.
Alfredo Binda is also worth a mention as he also achieved 12 podiums in a row in the two Italian monuments. However his streak was ruined because he got himself disqualified from second place at the 1928 Tour of Lombardy for an illegal wheel change.
Cancellara has finished on the podium of Milan San Remo four times in a row
This feat has been emulated in the past by just two riders, Costante Girardengo and Erik Zabel. However both of these managed to also win the race throughout their four years on the podium. Although Cancellara did win the race back in 2008, he’s finished on the podium the last four years without winning (three 2nds, one 3rd). Cancellara is the only rider to have ever finished on the podium of the same monument classic four years in a row without winning it.
Cancellara has finished on the podium of the first three monuments of the year…twice
Obviously Paris-Roubaix hasn’t happened yet this year, so this is something that Cancellara had done before this year’s classics campaign, achieving the feat in 2011 and 2013. Only two riders other than Cancellara have finished on the podium of Milan San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the same year, twice in their careers – Eddy Merckx and Sean Kelly. No rider has achieved this podium hat-trick three times in a career, or two years in a row. Cancellara will do both if he finishes in the top 3 in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.
The Flanders-Roubaix double
Ten riders have won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the same year, one of the most impressive ‘doubles’ in cycling. Before Cancellara and Tom Boonen came along, no rider had ever done it twice. The two modern giants have now both done it twice. If Cancellara wins Roubaix on Sunday, he will be the only rider to have achieved this double on three occasions.