Road

Fabian Cancellara says Liège, but not Tour glory in his plans

SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy (VN) – It is four days before the season’s first one-day monument at Milan-San Remo and 2008 winner Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) is making plans. But those plans are much farther reaching than the 300 kilometers he’ll face Saturday.

Fabian Cancellara guns it on the white roads of the 2011 Monte Paschi Eroica
Fabian Cancellara guns it on the white roads of the 2011 Monte Paschi Eroica
SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy (VN) – It is four days before the season’s first one-day monument at Milan-San Remo and 2008 winner Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) is making plans. But those plans are much farther reaching than the 300 kilometers he’ll face Saturday.

Cancellara said Monday that he will likely change his focus from the flats of Paris-Roubaix to the hills of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2012. Later that year, he’ll make a run at his third and fourth Olympic medals in London. The Swiss rider also said definitively that he would never make a run at a Tour de France overall title.

“I have ambitions on things that I don’t have and I think always working on only Roubaix, every year the same, whether you’ve won it or not, once you’ve lost that little bit of sugar … Once you’ve won it’s easier, but I want to go for different things,” said Cancellara. “Normally they say when you’re 30 you come on top, but I’m already on top. But I mean I’m going so much on the limits I can for what I can do for getting results and everything I can to fill my pockets with victories and experiences because one day will come that I have to put the bike (on the wall).”

The world time trial champion said that he will likely contest Liège next year, which would rule him out for the “Hell of the North,” a race he has won twice. He may instead choose Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Cancellara said that his team change to Leopard and his cobbles double at Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders last year delayed his pursuit of his fourth of five monuments.

“I make this decision to not ride Liège and Fleche (Wallonne) because I’m the defender of these races. That’s first of all,” said Cancellara. “Then from all what happened from August through March until now, there’s a lot of change in everything. Positive or negative, whatever it was, but it’s too much.”

Cancellara also said his wins in the cobbled classics a year ago have made him free in those events in 2011. “I’m already relaxed, but for these races coming until Amstel, at Flanders and Roubaix, riding with the number one on your shoulders, it does not happen always in the life of the cyclist,” he said. “The way I won it was amazing, but I don’t want people to think I won and won’t go back. I want to go back and again show what I can and get another trophy. My garden still needs some stones.”

The defending time trial gold medalist from Beijing said that he would have contested the individual pursuit at the 2012 London Olympics if the event hadn’t been removed from the schedule a year ago. “I have big ambitions for the Olympics again, even though I have won two nice medals,” he said. “I also had other plans for the Olympics in London, but it has been canceled.”

The Olympics are ultimately important to Cancellara and he said he would continue to monitor the track situation. If the opportunity arose, he would consider a run at success in the pursuit. “The Olympics is the biggest thing you can win in sport,” he said. “That’s important for me as a person for what I want to reach, but also to give something back for this sport. That’s also something I think. I’m responsible for myself, but also for this sport, for the peloton.”

One thing Cancellara will not do is turn his eyes to the overall at the Tour de France. He has entertained the idea in the media over the last few seasons, but said Monday that he would not seriously consider a run at the final maillot jaune.

“I know my dream is the Tour, but this dream stays a dream,” said Cancellara. “I will not go for it because it’s my dream, not a goal. I have other ambitions that I know and other goals that I think I can go for.

“I’m missing a few races and then the pot will be full.”