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He’s known by many names, including one of the coolest nicknames of all time, “Spartacus.” But whatever you call Fabian Cancellara, he’s a classics and time-trialing legend. This week, fresh off from spending a week in Belgium with ex-teammate and Bobby & Jens co-host Bobby Julich at the Tour of Flanders, Fabian found some time in his busy schedule to join the show.
Also listen to: Bobby & Jens: Ian Boswell
The cobbles specialist who three times won the Tour of Flanders and three times Paris-Roubaix breaks down what it takes to succeed on those ancient roads. “The problem is, there is no trick,” he’s quick to admit. But he does have some recommendations for tires, tire pressure, and other equipment that can make things more manageable, even if “those bike races will be never, ever easy.”
Because those races are so hard, months of preparation go into them. He discusses everything that goes into arriving at a race like the Tour of Flanders in peak condition, providing yourself the best chance to win — spoiler, it’s a lot.
But Fabian was more than a cobblestone talent. He was also, in Jensie’s eyes, the best time trial rider of his generation. “I love to go fast,” he said. He brings us into his time trialing mindset and approach. You quickly get the sense that Fabian could talk for hours about his racing days, and that a single race could fill an entire podcast episode.
However, when you win as much as Fabian, it can be hard to maintain your motivation. He discussed keeping the drive alive after so much success, especially on the time trial bike. And he fills us in on which kinds of victories he enjoyed the most.
Fabian not only had an illustrious career filled with pages of victories, he also went out with a mic drop moment, winning the Olympic time trial in 2016 and then retiring. He takes us through that final race — the lead-up to it, realizing he still had what it took to compete for a medal — and grappling with the decision to retire.
Listen to this week’s episode for the full discussion.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.