Cancellara completes classic double

Olympic time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara powered to his second one-day classic victory in a week, winning Paris-Roubaix with another humbling of Belgian rival Tom Boonen.

The Swiss rider’s second victory in the gruelling 259km race, known as the ‘Hell of the North’ due to its 27 sectors of bone-shaking cobblestones, means he also becomes only the 10th rider to achieve a rare classics double.

Last week Cancellara, who rides for Saxo Bank, left Quick Step rival Boonen struggling to keep pace with an attack 15km from the finish line of the Tour of Flanders.

After Boonen’s second place finish in Milan-SanRemo, and his runner-up place in Flanders, the pressure was on Belgian’s biggest cycling star to take revenge.

But on Sunday the three-time Paris-Roubaix champion was again at Cancellara’s mercy, the Swiss attacking with just under 50km to go.

A combination of unrivalled power from Cancellara and a crucial lack of collaboration in Boonen’s chase group allowed the Swiss to build a quick, unassailable lead.

Even before he reached Roubaix’s famous outdoor velodrome Cancellara was celebrating, brandishing the gold angel trinket his family had given him last week for Easter.

Two minutes later, Norwegian Thor Hushovd outsprinted Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha to claim second place with Boonen arriving in fifth a minute later.

“I knew that with my form and the way the last weeks were going I would be difficult to catch once I took a 10 metre lead, that they would be scared,” said Cancellara.

“Boonen, Flecha, Hushovd… I think they knew straight away they were racing for second place, and that allowed me to race my own race.

“Boonen was trying to make some breaks (attacks), so obviously I had to follow him and a couple of times I was starting to doubt myself.

“But my team car was telling me not to race his race, to race my race. That’s what I did, and when I came through the Mons-en-Pevele cobbled sector I decided I would be going all the way to the finish on my own.”

Boonen was left in a seven-man chase group which notably contained Hushovd, Filippo Pozzato, Leif Hoste and Flecha but, apart from Boonen, they had practically conceded defeat.

“I think when Cancellara went everyone understood pretty quickly that we wouldn’t be catching him,” said Cervelo rider Hushovd, who improved on his third place finish from last year.

“That’s why I’m really happy with my second place.”

By the time Cancellara had emerged from the seventh from last cobbled sector at Templeuve, his lead had grown to an unassailable 1:30.

Boonen was angry with the rest of the riders in the group.

“If Cancellara attacks and I can’t follow him that’s fair enough. But I’m really angry with the way some of the other guys rode,” said the 29-year-old Belgian, who won the race in 2005, 2008 and 2009.

“At no time did any of them try to race and some of them, including Flecha, had already resigned themselves to racing for second.”

Flecha said: “I gave everything I had so for me it’s a great finish.

“Cancellara’s strong, but he also had the balls to attack from as far out as he did. For me, he’s a great champion.”

Karun seventh in GP2 feature race

Monte Carlo, May 24 (IANS) Karun Chandhok lost out on a possible victory in the GP2 sprint race here Sunday as his Ocean Technology Racing team car encountered a driveshaft problem when he leading.

Earlier, the Chennai-born Chandhok had finished seventh in the feature race that earned him a front row start for the reversed sprint race grid.

Chandhok had qualified 10th for the feature race that he did not start well, slipping to 15th place in the first lap. But he retrieved the situation with an early pit-stop to rejoin the race in the seventh place that he maintained to the finish.

With the grid for the sprint race reversed (1-8 positions), Chandhok started second and went into the lead at the first corner by passing Pastor Maldonado (ART) and opened up a four-second lead.

However, with just eight laps to go, Chandhok slowed and finally grounded to a halt as the right side driveshaft had snapped and lost all drive as he approached the start-finish straight.

Chandhok said: “You don’t get many chances to win at Monaco and this would have been perfect. It’ll take a couple days to get over it but we have to push forward with the conviction of this weekend’s race pace.”