With six Tour of Flanders and seven Paris-Roubaix victories between them, Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara are two of the greatest one-day racers of all time. Widely described as the “modern era’s best classics racers”, Boonen and Cancellara understand the cobblestones in a way that is incomprehensible to many. At Rouleur Live 2022, the pair will give the audience a never seen before insight into what made them masters of their trades.
Together, Boonen and Cancellara are not only intriguing because of their illustrious palmarès, but because of the famous rivalry between them throughout their racing careers. Tornado Tom and Spartacus went head to head out on the road in an attempt to assert their authority over the Classics on multiple occasions, delighting the fans who cheered them by the roadsides or shouted at the TV from their sofas.
Boonen shot to stardom first, his first big victory at E3 Harelbeke coming in 2004 with wins Gent-Wevelgem and Scheldeprijs rounding out an impressive Classics campaign. In 2005 he went even better, becoming the first man to win the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and the World Championships in the same year.
Cancellara turned professional in 2001, but it took him longer to make his name as a Classics racer. It was in 2006 that the Swiss rider ignited the rivalry between himself and Boonen that would last the rest of their careers, by taking a solo victory in Paris-Roubaix. Images of the duo on the podium that year will go down in history as the moment that signified the start of one of the greatest battles in cycling. In 2008, Tommeke and Cancellara went head to head again, but this time it was the Belgian who reigned victorious in the Hell of the North, using his weapon – a fast sprint – to get the edge on his rival in the famed Roubaix velodrome.
2010 was perhaps the pinnacle of the opposition between the two riders. Images of the Tour of Flanders that year – Boonen in his Belgian national champion’s jersey and Cancellara in the Swiss jersey – showed the two battling up Flanders’ finest bergs. It was Cancellara who came out on top, his diesel engine that he used so well to gain his four individual time trial world champion titles helping him to a solo victory. With that, he entered the record books as just the 12th man to win Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in a career – Boonen has never won the former.
Both riders had their fair share of success since that year, namely when Boonen dominated the 2012 season in unprecedented fashion, winning all four cobbled Classics, and in 2013 when Cancellara won E3 Harelbeke and then sealed another Flanders-Roubaix double with Boonen out due to illness.
Since Cancellara’s retirement in 2016, and Boonen’s in 2017, both riders have gone on to have illustrious careers off the bike too. Boonen is an investor in Classified, a company which makes innovative shifting technology, while Cancellara runs his Chasing Cancellara sportive series, and has helped some big cycling brands with product development.
Join us at Rouleur Live 2022 to see both Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen talk about their rivalry and racing careers on stage together for the first time in history.