Present Olympics Athletes >> Fabian Cancellara
- Date of birth
- Professional debut
Mapei (2001-2002), Fassa Bortolo (2003-2005), CSC (since 2006)
Switzerland Championship Time-Trial, Tour of Switzerland (2 stage wins), Tour of Luxemburg (1 stage win), Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico (overall ranking + 1 stage win), Eroica, Tour of California (1 stage win)
Tour de France
3 stage wins (1 in 2004, 2 in 2007)
World Championships (3 medals, 2 gold, 1 bronze)
Time-trial : 1st (2006, 2007), 3rd (2005)
Classics (World Cup)
Tour of Denmark (2006), Erik Breukink GP (2002), Eddy Merckx GP (2002), Swiss time-trial championships (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Tour of Rhodes (2001, 2002)
The Swiss time-machine
Nicknamed 'Spartacus' for his huge frame of 1.86m which makes him easy to spot in the peloton, Fabien Cancellara is above all the master of the time-trial, an event in which he is double world champion and odds on favourite to win at the Beijing Olympics.
Born in Bern in 1981, Cancellara turned professional in 2001 after twice winning the junior world title in his specialised time-trial discipline in 1998 and 1999.
He wore the colours of the Mapei team in 2001 and 2002 before joining Italian outfit Fassa Bortolo (2003-2005) where he led home the peloton as pilot-fish for his legendary teammate the bunch sprint ace Alessandro Petacchi, who won four stages of the Tour de France in 2003 alone.
In 2006, he made the switch to Danish team CSC with whom he picked up his biggest win to date in the prestigious and punishing mud-fest Paris-Roubaix becoming only the second Swiss rider after Henry Suter in 1923 to win on the fabled cobblestone course.
He arrived at the Velodrome of Roubaix ahead of the field and held off the pack to finish 1min 49secs ahead of Belgian star Tom Boonen, Italian Alessandro Ballan and Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha.
A good one day racer, Cancellara remains the king of the time-trial with five Swiss titles to his name (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007), two world titles (2006 at Salzburg and 2007 at Stuttgart) and two victories in the Tour de France prologue at Liege in 2004 and London in 2007 (he also won the third stage that year).
And that is just to mention his most notable victories.
Spartacus at the Games
"I am like a Swiss clock," he once joked. I know how to race against the clock and like all Swiss, I have a hard head, very hard".
He has an Italian mother and Swiss-German father and discovered cycling at the age of 13 after falling in love with an old family bike that he found in the garage.
Immediately impressed by his new interest, he gave up football to concentrate on cycling.
"It completely changed my life. I suddenly realised that I had been closed off in a restraining box and that nature had suddenly opened my eyes to new aspirations. So I threw myself and my body into road racing. The scenic Swiss mountain roads are the most beautiful in the world".
Four years ago at the Athens Games, he finished 10th, a distant 2min 10secs behind American winner Tyler Hamilton who later tested positive for doping.
It is now four years later and 'Spartacus' can enter the arena with confidence. The cycling gladiator is ready for the Games.
Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.