Fabian Cancellara: "We are going through a difficult time, but cycling will never die.”
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fabian Cancellara: "We are going through a difficult time, but cycling will never die.”

by Ben Atkins at 10:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders
Swiss Classics specialist meets his fans at the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen

fabian cancellaraFabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) is busy preparing for his 2013 season, which he hopes will go better than 2012. The Swiss Classics specialist was able to take a little time out of his spring preparation, however, to pay a visit to the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen museum in Oudenaarde, Flanders, where he met some of his Belgian fans.

Cancellara has won many Flemish fans thanks to his numerous victories in the Cobbled Classics, with his double of the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix as the highlight. Despite this, with the problems that cycling is currently experiencing, the Swiss rider was “pleasantly surprised” by the big turnout in the Centrum’s Flandrien Brasserie.

"I asked myself this morning, wondering if anybody would be here,” he said, according to Sporza. “Well, I am pleasantly surprised; so much interest is very pleasing. I am a Swiss, but in Flanders, I can count on lots of fans.

"Every rider needs supporters. They give you moral support on the good days and the bad days. Now I have time to meet them."

Having dominated the on the Cobbles in 2010, Cancellara found himself marked out of most of the big races by the stronger teams in 2011. He looked strong again in 2012, but a crash in the feedzone of the Ronde shattered his collarbone into five places; the Swiss powerhouse intends to be back to his best next year.

“I’m looking forward to 2013,” he said. “I have had a camp in the Alps at about 3500 metres. That was the symbolic start of my new season.”

"Mentally I am certainly ready, and also on physical level it's all good. I want to be there at 100%; I also believe in the power of the RadioShack team."

Cancellara was willing to talk about cycling’s current problems with the fans present. The Lance Armstrong doping scandal has affected the Swiss rider’s RadioShack-Nissan team, with general manager Johan Bruyneel and doctor Pedro Celaya both heading for arbitration hearings over their alleged involvement in the “USPS Conspiracy”.

While he acknowledges that the situation is not currently looking good for the sport, the four-time World time trial champion feels that things will get better.

"We are going through a difficult time, but cycling will never die,” he said. “This sport is much too beautiful.

“It is time that that chapter was finally closed, and to get away from that negativity.”

While many in the sport are coming to acknowledge that the era where Armstrong and his team dominated the Tour de France was one of epidemic doping in the peloton, Cancellara echoed the feelings of many who feel that things have very much changed for the better.

"We no longer have to go back to the time when doping was equivalent to drinking water,” he said. “I won’t go into details about what has happened in the past. I am not a judge.

“I have to concentrate on my performance as a rider, but I know that it is now completely different, and better things go on in the peloton.”

Having been rumoured to be about to leave the embattled RadioShack-Nissan team at the end of the summer - particularly with the creation of the Swiss IAM team going on at the time - Cancellara was named as part of the Luxembourg-registered team’s 2013 line up this morning.

He has yet to set out his calendar for next season, but Spartacus will certainly line up as one of the big favourites for the Cobbled Classics once again.


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