Cancellara sees the Tour land in Switzerland: “The bike has to say thanks to Van Aert”

When he picks up the phone at breakfast, Fabian Cancellara apologizes for the noisy atmosphere around the family table, from which he draws to give us a long interview ahead of the arrival of the Tour in his country this weekend. At 41, the Swiss who hung his bike on the nail at the end of 2016, however, will not be present this Saturday in Lausanne, nor Sunday in Aigle.

“I’m not one to wait for an invitation for weeks, trust the one who raised his arms eight times to the Grande Boucle. I’m going on vacation very early and I have a very busy schedule between my business, the team project I’m doing (read alongside) and my family, whom I want to give a time I haven’t always had . when I was a runner. But this absence is in no way due to any resentment. “

The enthusiasm with which Spartacus evoked for us the race for the yellow jersey is without a doubt the best proof of this.

Fabià, what has inspired you so far to start this Tour de France?

“I found it very interesting in its development, as every day it gave birth to a very different scenario. For example, I have to admit that I didn’t see Yves Lampaert’s success coming against the clock. Inauguration in Copenhagen. It’s a pity the wind didn’t. Don’t fly over the Great Belt Bridge, but Jakobsen and Groenewegen’s sprint victories were a good eye on fate … “

Did you like the route of the fifth stage which offers a little over 19 miles of cobblestones?

“Yes, it was extremely spectacular and I think it’s for this kind of racing that people sit in front of the TV for several hours. From classic specialists like Stuyven to aspirants to the final podium in Paris, many riders with profiles quite different gave As is often said, no one has won the Tour in the northern sectors, but some, like O’Connor (AG2R-Citroën) for example, have certainly already lost … Of the chaos that invaded the L ‘ Jumbo-Visma team in the face of the strong impression left by Bora-Hansgrohe, there are many lessons to be learned. “

One of them is the facility of Tadej Pogacar in this field. Did it surprise you?

“No, I expected him to behave with such ease on the cobblestones. His performance in the last Tour of Flanders, a race he was discovering, I remind you, had shown his ability to adapt. The Slovenian is a On Thursday, in Longwy, he obviously hit hard with his stage victory and an impressive sprint, but beyond that, it’s mostly the way he’s already installed a form of confidence within the his team that I find remarkable.When they see how their leader is already stamping their brand to the test this way, I think their teammates will be a little more inclined to make their skin. doing all your rivals now is like beating him (smiles)… “

Can you imagine being able to win Paris-Roubaix?

“No, I don’t think so. Paris-Roubaix is ​​a one-day race with a very different scenario that brings together all the specialists in Northern classics. What it has shown this week is already fantastic. But with a phenomenon like you shouldn’t to swear nothing. And you’ll never hear me say Pogacar (laughs) … “

Wout van Aert was one of the great players of this first week of the race. What did you think of his start at the Grande Boucle?

“I still follow cycling very closely and I wouldn’t say, therefore, that I was impressed by the good and simple reason that I know what he can be capable of. We are talking about Wout van Aert, he was one of the best runners in the world. “The shot he made at Cap Blanc-Nez was, however, a very pleasant tactical maneuver. The way he was led by his teammates, the sharpness of his attack, his solitude: c was magnificent!”

Did you know that you were, before him, the last winner of a solo stage on the mountain?

“Yes, in Compiègne in 2007, I still remember the final. But my maneuver did not have the same intention. Van Aert’s good shot was very planned when my goal was more simply to defend my shirt and not necessarily win the “stage. He had wanted to anticipate a massive sprint by accelerating and had managed to keep a small gap over Zabel when crossing the line. It was really a surprise success.”

Do you think the Belgian can beat your number of days in yellow, 29, a record for a runner who has never won the Tour?

“In any case, you have the qualities to shine on a lot of terrain. So why not? Records are made to break, you know. But beyond those numbers, your compatriot is very good at cycling. Like Pogacar or van. der Poel, for example.These champions give another dimension to our discipline with their way of running, their desire, their sense of spectacle.So I tell them loud and clear ‘Thank you Wout, thank you Tadej, thank you Matthew! ‘ I’ve won three Tours de Flanders, but if van der Poel won five, I assure you I’d be the first to take his hat off. To each his own time and era (river)! “

The Tour will take place over the weekend in Switzerland. What do these two days in your country mean to you?

“I sincerely hope it will be a great popular success. Such events always have the power to shake things up and create vocations. So I hope it encourages the political world to make life a little easier for race organizers. Sometimes it is very difficult to get the necessary permits to close roads, for example, it is very good to attract the biggest race in the world to put the focus on our country in terms of tourism and participate in the development of bicycle use. , but this vision must also be maintained in the long run, by being consistent in the means and facilities that are devoted to discipline.It is always a virtuous circle story.We need races, opportunities to supervise young people safely. “.


“This team is the missing link in Swiss cycling”

The three-time winner of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix will pilot a pro-continental team next season.

Only four Swiss drivers will return to their country this Saturday for the arrival of the 8th stage in Lausanne. A declining contingent as a result of a more worrying phenomenon: there are no more Swiss professional teams registered in the ICU. A historical incongruity that Fabian Cancellara wants to erase. In 2023, the Bernese will lead as a manager a continental professional training (now called “Pro team”) built on the foundations of the Swiss Cycing Academy (continental) which he already owns and which the Tudor watchmaker will sponsor as a titular sponsor.

“Our philosophy is centered around theSwissdone,but it has no ambition to be reserved exclusively for Swiss runners, keep on going Spartacus. We are climbing a step in the world cycling hierarchy because our ambition is to be able to offer our athletes a more complete schedule and the higher level tests needed for their development. We will maintain a development team, but if we want to help our pilots grow, this new structure is needed. In my opinion, this is a missing link in Swiss cycling. Some great talents, like Hirschi or Küng for example, do not need this kind of march. But for many others, going through this stage is essential to their progress. I return to my virtuous circle theory. The more teams and races there are in a country, the more it contributes to the leveling of national cycling. Belgium is the perfect example! “

A country in which Cancellara hopes to see the Tudor team evolve regularly next season. “There are a lot of fantastic races in your country and these would be a fantastic education for our drivers. the Swiss continues. I’m not talking here about the Tour of Flanders or Liege-Bastogne-Liège, but about events like the Nokere Koers or the Walloon Grand Prix for example. You have to learn to master the peculiarities of this terrain, such as those of the Italian races for example “.

The Ronda and the Doyenne, perhaps it will be for later and the passage of this structure to the WorldTour level. “Evolving to the highest level of world cycling is not on the agenda, not even in the medium term, but we will see how things evolve. We are currently fully immersed in the professionalization of our structure and I am one of those who believe that the the construction of solid foundations is fundamental for the future. We will place the first stones of the building and we will see later to what extent it is … “

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