Fabian Cancellara: “I think I might even skip the next Tour”
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Fabian Cancellara: “I think I might even skip the next Tour”

by Ben Atkins at 12:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
No prologue offers Swiss time trial champion little of his usual motivation

fabian cancellaraFabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) may miss next year’s Tour de France as he looks to make up for the disappointments of 2012, according to Het Nieuwsblad. The Swiss time trial champion suffered a number of serious crashes this season, which cost him both the chance to compete in the Spring Classics, and defend his Olympic time trial title; with no prologue in the 2013 Tour, he will likely look elsewhere for glory.

Cancellara’s 2012 season began well, with a victory in the Strade Bianche and second place in Milano-Sanremo, but his luck ran out as he moved north to the Classics of Flanders. A number of small crashes and late a puncture in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen meant he was unable to challenge at the end of the race, and he was unable to prevent big Classics rival Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) sprinting to victory.

It was Cancellara’s big crash in the Ronde van Vlaanderen though, which saw his collarbone shattered into five pieces, that ended his spring campaign, which turned out to be utterly dominated by a rampant Boonen.

“Until the E3 and the Ronde it was all looking fantastic,” he said, “but then came that crash in the Ronde, leaving me with a broken collarbone, which drew a line straight through all those months of preparation. I was powerless.”

After a steady recovery, including a strong ride in the Tour de Suisse, and the reclaiming of his Swiss time trial title, Cancellara took the Tour de France prologue and - largely due to the continued absence of time bonuses - held on to yellow until the race hit the mountains of the Jura.

“In the Tour I regained myself,” he said, “and I wore the leader’s jersey for a week.”

The Swiss rider quit the race a few days after losing the yellow jersey to be at home with his wife as she gave birth to their second daughter; he returned to racing at the London 2012 Olympic road race, where he was one of the strongest, but crashed in the closing kilometres and damaged his shoulder.

Crashing out of races is becoming a bit of a habit for Cancellara, and he has been studying the reasons why.

“I have analysed those crashes,” he explained. “I could do nothing about that terrible fall in the Ronde, but in London it was my own fault. I went into the corner too quickly, just like it was my fault last year in the Amstel Gold Race [when he came down along with teammate Fränk Schleck - ed].

“It’s a strange thing, as I lie there on the tarmac, it’s like the feeling of the coming success means I’m not alert enough, or too untidy, to ride in the peloton. In London I was convinced I was going to be Olympic champion.”

Sadly, although the injury to his shoulder didn’t prevent him from riding the time trial a few days later, it did prevent him from properly defending his title from Beijing four years before, and he finished a disappointed seventh.

No prologue could mean no Tour for Cancellara in 2013

Winning the Tour used to be a dream of Cancellara’s, but this is no longer the case he says. The scandals that have surrounded many of the race’s recent winners, with the latest one surrounding Lance Armstrong the biggest, it is not something the Swiss rider aspires to.

As well as arguably not suiting his physical attributes, the demands placed on a Tour de France contender do not suit his lifestyle, or racing style.

“Outside Oscar Pereiro, Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins, all Tour winners have all been axed for doping,” he said. “I hope that we’ve got them all.

“I also wouldn’t like to do like [Bradley] Wiggins or Jurgen Van Den Broeck, who sacrifice everything for the Tour. I want a different life; besides being a rider, I’m also a family man.”

With 28 days in all, Cancellara has spent more time in the yellow jersey than anybody that has not actually won the race. This has been based on his outright record of five victories in the race’s opening prologue or time trial however [in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 - ed] and with the 2013 race to open with a road stage - as it did in 2008 and 2011 - he has less chance of taking the jersey this time.

“I think I might even skip the next Tour,” he said, “especially now that there’s no prologue. What would I have to prove? Perhaps it would be more interesting to take a break and prepare for the second part of the season.”

The second part of next season will feature the World championships, where he could aim to reclaim his time trial title from Germany’s Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and take a fifth rainbow skinsuit.


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