Seven races that defined a champion

Spartacus picks seven defining moments from his illustrious career.

Spartacus in numbers


podium places


Olympic individual time trial champion (2008/16)


time trial wins


Times winner of the Tour of Flanders (2010/13/14)



Spoiling the sprinters' party

Dubbed the “Sprinter’s Classic”, the 2008 edition of Milan – San Remo was following this all too familiar script until three kilometres to go. With the major players hesitating – Fabian attacked, immediately opening a gap on the bunch before time trialling his way to the finish; in the process joining a select band of riders to win La Primavera with a lone attack.

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Fabian Cancellara attacks during Milan-San Remo Fabian Cancellara on the podium at Milan-San Remo Fabian Cancellara makes his way through the crowds at Milan-San Remo Fabian Cancellara wins Milan-San Remo

World Championships Mendrisio

Home rule

With the 2009 world championships being held on his home turf, all eyes were on Fabian for the individual time trial. Spartacus didn’t disappoint; dominating the race from start to finish with an almighty show of strength. So big was the gap to his nearest rival that he could even allow himself to celebrate, arms aloft, 200 metres from the finish line.

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Tour de France

A breakneck descent

After victory in the opening time-trial, Fabian held the Maillot jaune for six days before a double puncture left him trailing the peleton midway through the 7th stage to Andorra. Descending like a man possessed he was able to zig-zag his way through the throng of team cars before clawing his way back to the main group.

“I didn’t know anything about this downhill. I just rode down the road.”

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Fabian Cancellara descending during stage 7 of the 2009 Tour De France

Paris – Roubaix

Doing the double

A display of absolute authority. At 50 kilometres to go and with attacks coming thick and fast, Fabian surged ahead leaving an impressive field of riders trailing in his wake. The crowd erupted in celebration as Fabian thundered into the Roubaix velodrome, and after his one-and-a-half laps of honour the emotion was clear to see as he embraced his wife and team management.

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Tour of Flanders

Back with a bang

After an unsuccessful season in 2012, Cancellara hit back the following year in emphatic fashion easily dispatching breakaway companions Peter Sagan and Jurgen Roelandts on the final ascent of the Paterberg before riding solo to an ecstatic crowd waiting at the finish in Oudenaarde.

“The victory has got a very high significance. It is something very special.”

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Fabian Cancellara on the Kemmelberg at Tour of Flanders Fabian Cancellara riding solo at Tour of Flanders Fabian Cancellara at Tour of Flanders Fabian Cancellara on the podium at Tour of Flanders

Tour De France

Crash Course

After third place in the prologue, Fabian took the maillot jaune the following day after claiming third place in a sprint finish. This joy was short-lived however as the following day Fabian was caught in a horrific spill 58km from the finish in Huy. In doing so he broke two lumbar vertebrae. Despite the enormous pain, he battled on to finish the stage.

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Olympic Games Rio de Janiero

The end of the road

As the list of favourites was being drawn up for the Olympic Men’s Time Trial not many people had counted on Fabian adding to the gold won eight years previously in Beijing. However, in a dominant display reminiscent of so many of his time trial victories, Cancellara crushed the opposition; taking his second Olympic time trial gold and bringing the curtain down perfectly on a long and illustrious career.

“Finishing, after 16 years, with the gold, it’s not bad.”

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Fabian Cancellara during the Rio Olympic Individual Time Trial Fabian Cancellara during the Rio Olympic Individual Time Trial Fabian Cancellara looks at his medals after the Rio Olympic Individual Time Trial Fabian Cancellara with his gold medal after the Rio Olympic Individual Time Trial