Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) knows his days in yellow are numbered.
Cancellara has held the maillot jaune every day except in stage 3, only to gain it back by the day’s end, but realizes his run in yellow is winding down with the Alps looming on the horizon.
“The mountains are coming so I know it will be over for me,” Cancellara said at the line in Montargis. “We are enjoying these days. We do what we have to do in these flat stages. We have other ambitions with Andy (Schleck). We have to be ready in the mountains and play our tactics, and put Andy at the highest level.”
Playing the Schleck card means an end to Cancellara’s spell in yellow.
Cancellara might survive Saturday’s push into the Jura Mountains, but the Cat. 1 summit finish at Morzine on Sunday will see the first major shakeup in the overall standings.
Saxo Bank will do what’s always done: shift its firepower from keeping Cancellara in yellow on the transition stages to Schleck, who’s poised at sixth overall at 1:09 back.
Thursday also marked Cancellara’s 20th career day in the yellow jersey, an impressive statistic for the time trial specialist who has won four opening TTs to grab the maillot jaune.
“I hear from the journalists that this was my 20th day in the yellow jersey, but while I won’t say I’ve stopped counting, I haven’t exactly kept track of my tally. Still, it’s always nice to wear it and 20 days is a lot,” Cancellara said. “Maybe I’ll never be able to say I’ve won the Tour but at least I can say that I’ve had 20 or 21 or 22 in the lead of the race. I don’t know how many it’s going to be but I’m happy every day I can ride in yellow. I enjoy it every ride, even on the crazy hot days like we had today.”
Cancellara remains philosophical about his own Tour future. Some think he could win a Tour if the course suited his style or if he managed to get into a big breakaway.
“It’s a dream to consider winning the Tour. I don’t know if it’s possible,” he said. “It remains a dream, but I have other dreams and other ambitions, and I will go for that.”