Yesterday I was late for work.

I was watching the Olympic men's time trial, won by Fabian Cancellara. Oh crap, I forgot to say spoilers in the title. Oh well...

Cancellara has been one of my favorite professional riders ever since he won Paris-Roubaix the first time in 2006. Fabian and Tom Boonen have pretty much dominated the cobbled Classics for more than a decade, and this year he announced he was retiring at the ripe old age of 35.
Although he was a four-time World Time Trial Champion and the 2008 Olympic Time Trial gold medalist, he was rarely mentioned as a favorite for another Olympic gold and instead was put under the heading of "these guys might have an outside chance, too".
He crushed it.
Nice way to wrap up a career.

I'll miss Cancellara. His post race comments were always entertaining and frequently confusing. His teammates lovingly referred to him as a prima-donna, who would ride for 160 miles over broken cobbles with cow shit and all sorts of unidentifiable substances thrown into his face off the tires of fellow riders, only to complain about how soft the towels were in the showers. He was a talented character, and the sport will be poorer with him retired. Personalities like Fabian and Mario Cipollini add needed flair.
It's the end of an era, although younger riders like Peter Sagan give me hope as Cancellara's generation pass the torch. Attacks are what makes racing fun to watch, even if they don't pan out. Riders willing to take that calculated chance sometimes go the distance. You can hear the excitement in the announcers' voices as the script they've been blathering on about for the last hour is torn up and a new one is being written. Such was the case with the Olympic men's and women's road races and last year's World Championships, won by the aforementioned Sagan. Even Chris Froome's attack on the descent of the Col de Peyresourde during this year's Tour was unexpected and completely appreciated. Having riders of that caliber racing by intuition instead of waiting for the team car or power meter to tell them to go just makes for better racing.
Chapeau, Sparticus.


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