Spartacus-Chains and Gears: The Career of Fabian Cancellara



From the streets of Wohlen bei Bern to Olympic and World Champion, the career of Fabian Cancellara has been filled with ups and downs. Im Chris Rolfe and to celebrate Spartacus winning our Career Achievement award, I'll be looking back at one of the greatest to ever turn the pedals

Fabian "Spartacus" Cancellara was born in Wohlen bei Bern on the 18th March 1981, a keen footballer and excellent cross country skier, cycling wasn't even considered in his future

However that all changed at the age of 13, when searching through the garage, he found an old family bike and he fell instantly in love, football and skiing were dropped immediately and he set about making a career on a bike

He blossomed early, dominating Swiss junior cycling with his main skills in Time Trialling which showed when he won the junior World Time Trial Championship in 1998 at the age of 17, retaining his crown the following year

A step up the following year didn't faze him and he took a silver medal in the Under 23 World Time Trial Championship. The talent was there and he turned pro the following year

He was signed by the Mapei-Quick-Step team, one of the strongest teams in professional cycling, his first victory coming while in the young rider project, with a prologue and overall GC victory at the Tour of Rhodes

The following year he became part of the new Gruppo Giovani setup at Mapei, a team to develop young talent, Fabian was joined by Filippo Pozzato, Michael Rogers and Bernie Eisel. He was dubbed "The future Miguel Indurain" by Giorgio Squinzi, the head of the Mapei firm

Cancellara continued to excel in 2002, winning several Time Trials and totalling 11 victories including The Tour of Rhodes for the second year running. However at the end of the year Mapei folded and Fab was on the look out for a new team

He joined Fassa Bortolo to work as a lead out man for Alessandro Petacchi. His first victory for the team came in the Tour Mediterranean, contributing as they won the Team Time Trial.

On 6th April Cancellara rode his first of many classic's, finishing 73rd in the Tour of Flanders. He won the Tour de Romandie prologue and rode consistently enough to win the points classification. Time Trial wins in Belgium and Switzerland would follow, not a vintage year but better things were to come