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Cancellara CrashWatch: Another Day, Another Tumble [UPDATED!]

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Fotoreporter Sirotti

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Cancellara -- in calmer times

A day after going down in the Scheldeprijs and leaving some skin on the road, Fabian Cancellara of Radio Shack-Leopard-Trek went down again on the Wandignies secteur of Paris-Roubaix cobbles, making sport director Dirk Demol and teammates nervous about his condition for Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. Cancellara, the overwhelming favorite after winning the Ronde van Vlaanderen decisively last weekend, got up and carried on, and Demol told the Belgian press they think he's fine, but he was off to see the doctor by now regardless. Look for confirmation shortly that he remains on track for Sunday. And that he'll be kept under glass until then.

[UPDATE!] OK, now that we have video we can see what this whole matter is -- an elaborate ruse. Demol has found a body-double for Cancellara (plentiful in Flanders) and had him dump himself unceremoniously on a relatively unspectacular stretch of cobbles. Yes, I know it's plausible that this is Cancellara, but ask yourself:

  • Who benefits from this video? The Shack, and Cancellara, who is desperate to raise at least some doubt about his chances Sunday, lest he have 180 guys glued to his wheel all day.
  • Why was it being video'd? This is the tell. Nobody would just waste valuable time and energy following cyclists around all day. Not even the Belgian press. And yet, there just happened to be a camera tracking the Shack at this moment. Soooo convenient.
  • Follow the money. Specialized have won a lot of classics in the past few years. Only now does Trek have their meathooks in a healthy Cancellara. So they stage an "accident" but the bike is ok. THE BIKE IS OK! Seriously, you have to get up pret-ty pret-ty early to slip this past me.

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Arenberg cobbles, also ready for battle.

All images by Fotoreporter Sirotti