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Beefed-up Cancellara unveils autobiography in Flanders

The retired Swiss star admits he's put on 4-5 kilos since calling an end to his career.

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Fabian Cancellara presented his autobiography Thursday and admitted he’s easing into life as a retired rider by putting on some weight. The two-time Olympic champion no longer has the scale haunting his every move.

“I’ve put on four or five kilos,” Cancellara told the assembled Belgian media. “It’s unsettling when you feel yourself putting on weight. Once you’re no longer an elite cyclist, you put on weight quickly.”

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The 35-year-old Swiss star unveiled his autobiography in Antwerp and though he left his mark across the globe, he said he always felt like Flanders was his second home. He wanted to debut his book near the roads of the Tour of Flanders, a race he won three times.

Cancellara put an end to his successful 16-year racing career with an exclamation point, winning the Olympic time trial gold medal in his last race as a professional. He said he’s not had any problem not staying busy.

“I’ve been doing a million things since then,” he said. “Doing events with sponsors, special events, bike shows, galas, it just doesn’t stop. I can imagine things will slow down. More than anything, I want to spend time with my family and friends. After 16 years as part of a team, I think I deserve it.”

“Spartacus” was vague about what he wants to do in the future, but reconfirmed that he doesn’t see himself as a sport director. Instead, he wants to study, perhaps start a new career in sports marketing — something he said “always fascinated me.”

“I can use my experience as an athlete,” he said. “I’d like to study the subject, and it is a part of sport that has always fascinated me.”

The Belgian cycling media couldn’t help but ask Cancellara what he thought about plans to move the start of next year’s Tour of Flanders from its traditional beginning in the central market square in historic Brugge to downtown Antwerp.

“I like tradition, and I don’t want to change for the sake of change. Let’s see, but honestly, I prefer Brugge,” Cancellara said. “I understand there are economic reasons, but the heart of cycling in Flanders lies in the Flemish Ardennes, and Antwerp is very far from that. The start in Brugge was always unique and emotional.”