Cancellara. Happy, sad, hard-man in final Paris-Roubaix.

Bye, bye stones.

Bye, bye stones.

Spartacus, emotional gush-ball.

As the final days tick down before Fabian Cancellara’s final Paris-Roubaix, he’s getting more and more tangled up in his emotions.

He’s sad, wistful and agitated as he attempts to come to terms with the end of his career and his final run in the Hell of the North. It may or may not rain Sunday but chances are we’ll see some tears falling down the champion’s face.

He’s won three of those cobblestone trophies and a fourth would tie with with longtime classic rival Tm Boonen. It’s a race that has given him much satisfaction, a race he built much of his reputation on, a race that showcased his astonishing power and mental strength. Hard to love the stones and yet hard not to.

While last week’s Tour of Flanders winner Peter Sagan is on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, relaxed and looking to simply have a “nice day” in Paris-Roubaix, Cancellara is having trouble putting on the blinders and shutting out his feelings. He’s a hardman having a difficult time being the tough guy. There are probably a few boxes of kleenex tissues in the Trek-Segafredo team bus for the emotional fragile superstar.

Paris-Roubaix is flat as a pancake but for Cancellara its a roller coaster of feelings and emotions.

He admitted that saying goodby in Flanders was difficult not that Paris-Roubaix would prove an even bigger challenge. To his credit, the Swiss champion is going out on his terms and at the top of his game but that doesn’t make it any easier to say au revoir.

There are things in your mind that you’d like to do, but in the situation it came very spontaneously,” he said of his waves goodbye in Flanders. “So what’s going to happen in the velodrome, nobody knows. I know it’s going to be damn hard, but I have to blind this out. That’s probably harder than the race, to blind out everything that I achieved here.”

Cancellara has his work cut out for him at Paris-Roubaix. First, beat rivals like Peter Sagan, Tom Boonen, Alexander Kristof and Sep Vanmarcke. Second, don’t turn into a blubbering mess after the finish in the velodrome.

 

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