Two weeks ago we read article questioning Fabian Cancellara’s future as a winner of one day Classics. Quite rightly, Tim suggested that Cancellara’s predictability was the biggest factor in whether the great Swiss, otherwise known as Spartacus, will win another Classics race.
Throughout the course of the discussion it was also suggested and agreed upon that lack of an appropriate team structure was another key factor.
On Sunday, Cancellara rolled in third at Milan San Remo, behind Ciolek (first) and Sagan (second). The conditions were absolutely terrible, with the race stopped part way through and riders bused over the Passo del Turchino.
The trying conditions made for an incredibly interesting race although I suspect most of the peloton would have been far happier with less frosty conditions.
Once again, Cancellara had a place on the podium, but sadly, it was not first place.
What interested me most about Tim’s article wasn’t the observation that his racing has become so predictable that his opponents can read him like a book, which I completely agree with, but what wasn’t really discussed.
I think the question is would Cancellara benefit from a change of scenery?
Would a new team compensate for his predictability and offset the constant marking the Swiss rider faces.
There have been rumblings that he is not happy at Radioshack Nissan, and let’s be honest, he’s not alone there. Bruyneel stepping down late last year has been seen by many as one of the key things that kept him there.
So, I’ve been thinking about Cancellara’s predicament and this is what I think on the teams that are open or not, to Spartacus.
BMC – No.
Philippe Gilbert is the newly crowned World Champion and a Classics specialist himself. Having Gilbert and Cancellara on the same team would evoke acts of cannibalism that no one would want to witness. An exercise in futility for riders and spectators would surely follow.
I can’t really see BMC doing the same kind of deal making that I suspect Sky do in managing the rosters (and egos) of their many GC contenders.
All of this equals, BMC not needing Cancellara.
OPQS – No
Two names: Boonen and Cavendish (Yes, I know Cancellara is not a sprinter. As usual, I will make a point, it just takes a while).
Tom Boonen, like Cancellara, is one of the greats of Classics racing. Boonen’s Classics season last year was magnificent. Sadly, Cancellara had a nasty fall at the Tour of Flanders and we were robbed of seeing these two greats go head to head. Let’s hope we see it this year.
Cavendish – now I’m not suggesting that Spartacus has an ego the size of Everest, but Cav does and let’s be honest, containing Cav and his ego in any team environment is going to be a challenge. Throw in Boonen and Cancellara? Enough said.
It is the same reasons that prevent BMC from needing Cancellara that prevent OPQS from needing his services too.
Ok, so let’s look at a few more teams.
Team Sky – No
They have a clear focus on GC.
We all agree that Wiggins is their number one, then Froome, then Porte and then Thomas.
They couldn’t cope with the distractions of a sprinter, who also happened to be World Champion at the time and generally considered the fastest man in the peloton. How would they cope with Spartacus?
This isn’t a realistic option for the man often described as more Swiss than Toblerone.
Orica Greenedge – No
It is true they have a range of riders from a variety of nationalities, who all win and are given the opportunity to win, but the team essentially aims to have its Australian riders as the main men for major races.
Gerrans is an all rounder who OGE would want to see contending Classics races.
Is Gerrans as good as Cancellara? Well, no, but he did out sprint him last year to win Milan San Remo.
Personally, I would give a vital organ to see Cancellara at OGE but then again, well, you all know how biased I can be. I don’t always see things clearly when talking about one of my favourite riders, Cancellara, at my favourite team OGE.
Anyway, I know it’s not going to happen.
Cannondale – No.
Sagan. Sagan may not be the time trialing maestro that Cancellara is but he’s a serious contender for the Classics, as seen during Sunday’s Milan San Remo, amongst other examples.
Katusha – No.
Licensing issues. Having to go to CAS to get the green light to race throws so much doubt over this team. Realistically, they may have held onto Joaquim Rodriguez once they got the right to race again, but any rider with half an operative brain cell will be looking for a more reliable team at the seasons end.
Saxo Tinkoff Bank – No.
Well, according to the internet (and of course we believe everything we read on the net), it was out of Katusha and Saxo who were going to lose their ride this year. If this is the case, I wouldn’t move to either if I was Cancellara.
Then again, is staying where he is his best option?
With better riders around him at Radioshack, could Cancellara overcome the issues of being marked?
Where would like to see Cancellara go? Obviously, there are quite a few teams not mentioned here that could be possibilities.
I’d love to know your thoughts.
Published on The Roar 20th March, 2013