I know, Fabian Cancellara isn't one of the riders I've been following - but maybe he should be.
I first noticed him after he snatched the Tour of California Prologue Time Trial from the home town favorite Levi Leipheimer by a second and a half.
He just bagged his second Paris - Roubaix this year, riding away from 3 time winner Tom Boonen and the rest of the mob, and that, only a week after taking first at the Tour of Flanders. Late in the race, he singlehandedly bridged the gap between the peloton and a 3 man breakaway, then dropped the breakaway 1 rider at a time. The final rider seemed to wave him off as Fabian drifted away, as if to say "Just go - you're going to do it anyway." He time trialed the rest of the way over the cobblestones as the peloton seemed to just wish it were over.
Fabian had over 2 minutes to enjoy his victory before being joined by the balance of the riders.
Not sure why I liked this photo so much.
Could it be that it seems the pro's put their helmets on just like the rest of us - one strap at a time? Or, is it possible that Tom Boonen holds his white shades in his teeth just like he saw me do it? Possible.
Should Armstrong, Sastre, and the Schleck duo be taking notice?
Probably not. Cancellara is strong. Period. But the Tour de France, which is really all that Lance seems to care about this year is not just about raw power. I predict some early wins by Saxo Bank with Cancellara in the yellow jersey, however I suspect that those early points will be designed to offset a less than spectacular arrival in Paris. To win the TDF you have to still be turning the cranks well 3 weeks later on the Champs Elysees.
I think Lance will be still battling Carlo in the last stages, and that they will own all rights to the remaining raw power in the peloton.
I predict Lance wins by less than 30 seconds on the finish line in Paris.