By Vernon Felton
Fabian Cancellara managed to win Paris Roubaix today, making it his third victory at the brutal race known as the Hell of the North. Cancellara’s previous wins came in 2006 and 2010.
With Tom Boonen out of the race due to an injury, Cancellara was this year’s favorite for the top podium spot, but anything can happen over the course of the 254.5-kilometer route. Dust, cow shit, mud, cobbles, hip checks–Roubaix is great because it is so very unpredictable. Anything can happen in this classic among Classics.
In the end, Cancellara outsprinted Belgium’s Sep Vanmarcke for the victory in the Velodrome and had enough presence of mind to celebrate the win at the line with the classic Hannibal Lecter-esque, tongue-out-of-the-side-of-the-mouth salute, which is becoming all the rage in professional road racing.
Well played, Spartacus!
Dutch champion Niki Terpstra took third place, 31 seconds behind Cancellara, which probably won’t even get him free beer when he goes to a bar tonight.
On a side note, clearly no one has told the nation of Holland that “Niki” is a name traditionally reserved, in America at least, for strippers and not for men. This undoubtedly explains why male tourists from the Netherlands frequently find themselves getting 20 dollar bills thrust down their pants by confused, drunken men when traveling in the United States. Parents in Holland may want to take this fact into account when considering the names of their male offspring.