Spartacus (aka Fabian Cancellera) wins Vuelta prologue.

Spartacus, gladiator and cyclist.

Spartacus, gladiator and cyclist.

Who’s your favorite Spartacus?

The one with the sword and loincloth, the gladiator slave played by Kirk Douglas in the 1960′s blockbuster directed by Stanley Kubrick? Or the Spartacus in the Saxo Bank jersey who is the world’s best time trialer and also goes by the name Fabian Cancellera.

If you’re watching the opening prologue of the Veulta, it’s most likely Fabian. Nicknamed Spartacus because of his imposing strength, Cancellera blistered the 4.8 kilometer course in Assen, Netherlands in 5 minutes, 20 seconds.

Which by the way is over 155 minutes faster than Spartacus the movie — but they were covering a chunk of Roman history and it’s hard to get that many slaves to move fast. They didn’t have bikes and even if they did, no cleats for the sandals. A disaster really. But we’re guessing Cancellera would be pretty fast on a chariot.

The Swiss time machine was 9 seconds faster than Tom Boonen (Quickstep) and 12 seconds ahead of the bicycling buddhist, Tyler Farrar (Garmin). While all the original Spartacus got for his efforts was a crucifixion, Cancellera earned himself the first golden jersey of race leader. Unquestionably a better deal if you had to chose between the two.

The Doping V’s (Vinokourov and Valverde) came in 7th and 9th, respectively. Why Alejandro is allowed to race the Vuelta (or any race, for that matter) is the biggest mystery and scandel in porfessional cycling. P.S. Can anyone identify the strange object Cancellera is holding on the podium? It looks like a carved wooden Dutch Paint Boy. Think I’d rather have a stuffed lion from the Tour.

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  • henkio

    Hi again.

    The wooden guy he is holding pictures 'Bartje', a character from a Dutch book who lived in Drenthe. He was a poor farmers son who was supposed to take over the farm but wanted to see the world.
    His claim to fame was refusing to pray for dinner if dinner was beans ("I don't pray for brown beans!").

    Drenthe doesn't have much else, so Bartje has a statue and a friggin museum in Assen.
    Still better than a random stuffed animal. ;)