We thought Fabian Cancellara was done, his 2016 retirement year ending with little to show for glorious goodbyes. All whimper, no bang, curtain dropping fast.
He crashed in his final Paris-Roubaix, he abandoned the Giro d’Italia and failed to make any impression in the Tour de France. It just didn’t appear that Lady Luck was going to help with the final fireworks display.
The came Rio and gold and a final shiny polish on his legend.
Cancellara dominated the race against the clock, winning the 54.5 kilometer time trial by 47 seconds over Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands and over a minute faster than Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
It was a throwback performance from the 2008 Olympics TT gold medalist, a kind of time travel trip to the days when Cancellara owned any race decided by a stopwatch.
Rio was signature Spartacus, a powerful and assertive ride that brought gold and brought back memories. Cancellara had been overtaken in the last few years by people like Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin, Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin.
However, for that one perfect day in Rio he put it all together again. A warrior dominates the road and goes out in style.