Tour of Flanders Press Conference: Cancellera, Boonen, Sagan


Paul Burgoine is in Belgium for the daddy of the classics, Tour of Flanders and talks to Fabian Cancellera, Tom Boonen & Peter Sagan

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Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack Leopard Trek)

PB: In the past few years it has been a battle with you and Tom Boonen. Now you have Peter Sagan. Has this changed anything or taken any pressure off you?
FC: In the end, I have only my pressure. I know what I want and I have been building up to this for a long time. My goal is to win the race – now it’s more Peter than Tom but never forget Tom because he is so experienced in this race. I’m just happy for cycling we have this new rider and it’s a positive for cycling”


PB: Were you happy with your condition after winning E3?
FC: I was very happy and satisfied after a win like this. With the strong performance that I needed for myself and my confidence, but also to feel stronger out of that, I also see things that I still need to improve on- OK, I won and the group behind were chasing but there were some big names missing.

PB: Do you consider yourself the main favourite for the race?
FC: There are many favourites. If I am a favourite, it’s logical, but there’s still many others. BMC with Pozzato for instance, I’m not going to make a list of the riders. I’m just going to do my job. For sure I have done my homework and you never know, it’s important for me to be relaxed and calm at the start in Brugge. And with the backing of the team, I am race ready”

PB: How do you feel about Sagan?
FC: He is young and I would be more than happy if I was his age to win so many races. As a younger rider, he is different. He goes with less stress, he is more cool, he has a different approach now as opposed to when you get older. He has a different vision of seeing things and I have that as well – in the end he won his Classic I won my Classic. Now we are one on one and we will see Sunday what will happen. I know his strengths and his weaknesses now “

PB: Do you think Tom Boonen is ready for Sunday?
FC: He will be ready. I hope more for himself but I don’t forget about his injury’s and his sickness. It’s not easy he is the winner from last year and a Belgium hero but you need to be 100%. It’s not easy. Tom is improving and so is the team. Tom will be up there but no one knows how strong or for how long. It’s one of his races”


Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quickstep)
Tom was late due to being held up in a traffic accident so I opened the questions with “Thanks for coming Tom” “No worries”. Patrick Leferve shook his head and said “British Ha” all in good jest.

PB: How did you feel in 3 Days De Panne when you were making your efforts, was there more in the tank?
TB: I was working hard but it’s good for the mind to have something to refer to. My condition is not the same as it was last year but it’s not looking that bad. Due to the circumstances I have progressed well in the last few weeks. We will see on Sunday if it’s enough and on time to get a result in the race. I did the maximum possible to get here so I can’t expect any more.

PB: I know you are a more relaxed person now but do you think there is less pressure with the emergence of Sagan?
TB: Oh I have a lot more question marks. I mean last year everything was going so well. Last season, the stress was a little different because I was expected to win races, but now I think coming into this period was very stressful trying to get to my best level. It’s different stress but both years are hard.

PB: Maybe it will work in your favour, people not looking only to you?
TB: I hope so. After last year maybe this isn’t too bad. If I had the same level as last year, it would have been very hard, but still I don’t think I will get any freedom if I try to escape in the final.

PB: Do you have any new ideas about how to beat Fabian or do you know everything?
TB: I don’t think I will find anything new. I have known him for a very long time. He is in good shape now so he will be the guy to beat along with Sagan. Also I think SKY will be contenders. We can’t forget them, they have a strong team and might be given more freedom.

PB: How do you feel about the way Sagan celebrates?
TB: I love it, if I could do a wheelie I would but I can only dream about it. It makes a change rather than riders just raising their arms

PB: Is it good to have someone like Sagan
TB: We have seen him coming for the past few years so it’s good to have someone like him. If you look back, the past few years, had many new names have been able to win these Classics so it nice to have someone joining us.


Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
PB: Why did you pull out of De Panne?
PS: Yesterday was a rest after the efforts at Gent Wevelgem and De Panne. Today we did a recon of the final circuit and massage and rest in preparation”

PB…How do you think you can beat Cancellara?
PS: It’s not easy to answer how to beat Cancellara. We will see during the race and what the other favourites will do. After every race I learn more, the experience of Cancellara is an advantage compared to me. They know the route better. I am happy with my wins already in Belgium and I am ready to race.

PB: How do you feel about The Tour of Flanders…?
PS: This is one of my goals for the season. This is the most important. I have trained and prepared for this race since the winter, when I was younger I watched Flanders on TV and was fascinated by it. Now, I am a rider I like the atmosphere of the race and the build-up. I also have a new fan club in Belgium, I feel fans support me all over the world and my aim is to do well for my fans.




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