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Vuelta a Espana

Fabian Cancellara eyes Vuelta as preparation for worlds

The Saxo Bank star is tired from a demanding, successful season, but says racing beats training.

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Stage 19, 2010 Tour de France, Fabian Cancellara
Fabian Cancellara may use the Vuelta a España to train for another shot at the rainbow jersey. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Fabian Cancellara is tentatively planning on racing the Vuelta a España as preparation for an attempt at a fourth world time trial championship.

After he won the Tour de France’s stage-19 time trial in Paulliac, the Saxo Bank rider told VeloNews that although his plans were not concrete, he was expecting to race the world championships, held in Australia, and that if he does, he will use the Vuelta as preparation.

Cancellara said he’s tired from a demanding and successful 2010 season, which has included spring classics wins at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, as well as a Tour de France that brought a pair of stage wins, a week in the maillot jaune, and several days spent riding in defense of Andy Schleck’s fight for the general classification.

“I’m not 100 percent sure if I’ll race the worlds, but for the moment, that’s my plan,” Cancellara said. “And if I race the worlds, I’ll use the Vuelta to prepare. It’s the best preparation; it’s not racing, but it’s riding in the bunch, not just training. I have to be honest; I know myself well enough to know that it will be hard to train alone for worlds if I don’t race the Vuelta. It’s been a hard season already. If it weren’t for worlds, I would be ready to call it a season.”

The Saxo Bank star has used the Vuelta as worlds preparation in the past. Last year he rode the Spanish grand tour, winning two time trial stages and holding the leader’s jersey for one stage. He went on to attempt the rare double at worlds, held on native soil in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The powerful Swiss rider won the time trial by a margin of 1:27 over Gustav Larsson, and though he was arguably the strongest man in the road race, he was isolated and marked out of the final move, finishing in tears in fifth place.

Cancellara used the Vuelta as preparation for his first world TT title, in 2006, helping his CSC team win the opening team time trial and finishing second to David Millar in the stage 14 time trial. He did not ride the Vuelta in 2007, when he won the world TT title in Stuttgart, Germany; instead he rode the Tour of Poland and Tour of Germany. He skipped the world championships in 2008, citing fatigue from preparing for the Olympics, where he took gold in the time trial and bronze in the road race, though that result was upgraded to silver after Davide Rebellin’s second-place finish was disqualified.

The Vuelta begins August 28 in Sevilla with a 16.5km time trial. The hilly 45.4km elite men’s world time trial championship will be held September 30 in Geelong, Australia.

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