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"The Nieuwsblad and Kuurne have an undeniable historical dimension, but it is not everything in the modern cycling. While it was once necessary to ride these races to get in shape towards major classics in April, this is no longer the...

Photo: ASO / B. Bade

FABIAN CANCELLARA

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KUURNE-BRUXELLES-KUURNE

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OMLOOP HET NIEUWSBLAD

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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28.02.2014 @ 17:41 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

While most of the classics specialists are eagerly awaiting the beginning of their year’s favourite season with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne this weekend, it is not the case for Fabian Cancellara as the Swiss rider will skip the cobbled openers for the sixth consecutive season.

 

Cancellara has participated in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Omloop Het Volk) last time in 2008 when he finished 13th, and since then he is sticking to a very regular racing schedule regarding early season, with a stint in the Persian Gulf followed by the Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo before eventually hitting the cobbles in late March with E3 Harelbeke.

 

This year would be no exception, and as Trek Factory rider admits he acknowledges the historical importance of cobbled season’s openers, but it is no longer necessary, or even possible, to use those races as a build up for the Ronde van Vlaanderen or Paris-Roubaix being the main objectives, as professional cycling has changed diametrically over the time.

 

"The Nieuwsblad and Kuurne have an undeniable historical dimension, but it is not everything in the modern cycling. While it was once necessary to ride these races to get in shape towards major classics in April, this is no longer the case today," Cancellara told the Laatste Nieuws.

 

Also the Trek Factory Racing sports director Dirk Demol confirmed that Cancellara’s non-participation in the cobbled season’s opening weekend is a deliberate choice.

 

“Fabian is the only rider to participate in Dubai, Qatar and Oman with already 16 days of racing on his account. Therefore he doesn’t need to find the right pace in the races at all costs. He ultimatedy doesn’t need Nieuwsblad. For several years he has chosen this option because these races are situated in a gap between long journeys and recovery periods,” Demol explained.

 

“This is an important step in building the form, we want to carry top disposition from San Remo to Roubaix.”

 

Demol acknowledges that Cancellara’s main rival and big favorite for this year’s major cobbled classics, Tom Boonen, will participate in the Flemish openers, but claims that such decision is mainly due to his nationality and obligations towards race organizers.

 

Boonen himself also admitted this week that is seems impossible to keep the high disposition from late February to April and thus he won’t chase the victory in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad at every price.

 

“These objectives are indeed the same for Boonen, he will participate, but I think it would be difficult for the Belgian champion to avoid these races. This is a matter of a high importance for national sponsors,” Demol concluded.

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