Fabian Cancellara leaving Saxo Bank

The Swiss strongman is leaving Bjarne Riis' team a year before his contract expires.

Fabian Cancellara is leaving Team Saxo Bank a year before the end of his contract, team owner Bjarne Riis told TV2 news Saturday.

“I will put it like this: Fabian and I have reached a deal that he can be relieved from his contract. That means he will not be on our team next year,” Riis said.

“Fabian and I have had some fantastic years together, but that is over now. We have agreed that it would be best if we part ways.”

Cancellara, the reigning world Olympic time trial champion, pulled out of the Vuelta a España before the end of the 19th stage Friday, raising concerns over his participation in the world road race championships.

He had been set to compete in both the road and time trial in Geelong, Australia, during the week of September 29-October 3.

“Fabian is irreplaceable. That’s the way it is. But you have to have the will and the desire to ride for our team,” Riis said, adding that he did not know where Cancellara was headed next.

“It is up to Fabian himself to say where his future lies,” he said.