Fabian Cancellara's blistering attack on the Paterberg broke a stubborn but not unbreakable Peter Sagan; a moment that shaped the race and led to the Swiss's second solo win at the Tour of Flanders. But in a race just shy of 256km, there's plenty of stories within stories, untold by the key moments of the race. Here's what the riders said of the Belgian Monument better known as De Ronde.
Fabian Cancellara, winner, RadioShack-Leopard
On the key moment
This was an amazing team job. Everyone was against us and we just stayed focused. We came on the Oude Kwaremont for the last time and Gregy Rast said everyone looked tired, so I tried to do the first selection there. Peter (Sagan) and I came up to Jurgen Roelandts then and I knew I had to go again to get away from Peter.
It happened like we’ve been planning for months. Hard work from me and the team and sacrificing time with our families. I can count on two hands the number of days I’ve been home this winter. It hasn’t been easy for my wife and kids but these are the hard choices we make.
On the win
My career won’t last forever so it’s important to pick moments to enjoy. This victory is for my family and team.They gave me so much support. And for the fans – it was a perfect day. My second win in Flanders has been exceptional. I will relax now and recover from this effort and see what happens next week.
On the pain of last year
One year ago I was on the ground and now I’m back and I’ve won Flanders on the new course. It isn’t easy winning as the big favorite but I’m really happy. In the end it was a strange race, but strange good because I won! It was so fast in the beginning and we had to take over early but I think that was the key. There were not so many riders left at the end. The team did a fantastic job and I did what I had to do: bring the Ronde Van Vlaanderen home.
Peter Sagan, 2nd, Cannondale
On being content
Today’s second place is a great result. I didn’t suffer any problems and I was able to do my best to stay in the front of the race. Cancellara was simply the strongest today. I couldn’t do more than this. I have understood I can win the ‘Ronde’. I’m 23 years old, with many years in front of me, so I'll take it.
On the race
The race was hard for the entire day. At 140 km to go I had a crash. I was eating, suddenly riders in front of me touched their brakes and I lost control of the handlebar. Nothing particular, just a loss of time. In the final part of the race I controlled Cancellara, then when he attacked I thought about maintaining the advantage with Roelandts ahead of the bunch. Honestly, I don’t know if I had enough power for a good sprint.
On the rivalry
The rivalry between me and Fabian? It’s only about sport. The media maybe make it bigger than it really is. Out of the race there are no problems between us, but when we have to challenge for a win I think it’s normal be competitors. It’s only a show for cycling.
And on a certain much debated topic after the race.
Was not my intention todisrespect women today on the podium. Just a joke, sorry if someone was disturbed about it.— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) March 31, 2013
Jurgen Roelandts, 3rd, Lotto Belisol
It definitely was a fantastic moment when I was riding solo on the final climb of the Oude Kwaremont. When I looked behind and saw two riders approaching, I didn’t have to think long to know who that could be. I kept on believing in it, but I had already done quite an effort, but they had done that as well. It was impressive to see Fabian take off on the Paterberg. I saw that Sagan couldn’t follow him and on the top he wasn’t that far in front of me. After the Paterberg I joined Sagan and decided to give everything to be on the podium.Paris-Roubaix is now really not an option. It's hard to renounce a race like that, but I really can't ride. I have a lot of pain and in the next days for sure it won't be better. Unfortunately 2013 is not really my year, not my number. I had too much troubles this year and than this. Now I really have to be careful with my physical problems. The elbow and the hip are really swollen and painful, all the left part of my body is sore. I'm disappointed.http://media.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/upload_media/2101_boonen-500-.jpgServais Knaven, Team Sky DS
On Team Sky's performance
It’s a disappointment for everyone. The riders expected more. A few are upset because they weren’t fit enough to impact the race. To train hard for the race for such a long time and then to have the likes of Bernie (Eisel) and Mathew (Hayman) ill is very tough. We certainly can’t fault the effort of the guys. We gave it everything we had. Edvald was in the perfect position on the Kwaremont but you just have to say that there were stronger riders today.
Sylvain Chavanel, 13th, Omega Pharma-Quickstep
On the race
When Cancellara and Sagan attacked I was on the wheel of Boasson Hagen. Cancellara and Sagan were really strong today, but personally I have no regrets. I think I did a good race, as one of the controlled guys of the races I couldn't attack from afar.
On the absence of the Kapelmuur
The circuit is also so difficult that it blocked the race. Nobody wants to take the risk to jump before the last lap and I think that in the future things won't change a lot.
On losing Boonen for Roubaix
Tom (Boonen) has been unlucky since the beginning of the year, I feel so sorry for him. I saw all the effort he did to be in shape for this race. Unfortunately crashes are part of the race. Maybe if Tom was there, something could have changed. For Paris-Roubaix it's different. The cobblestone sections are longer and normally there is more natural selection, so it won't be a blocked race.