Fabian Cancellara targets world road race — and time trial — championship again

The Swiss star wants a fourth time trial title to set an all-time record. And he wants another shot at winning the road race title that eluded him last year.

Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara says that the prospect of a record-breaking fourth world crown in the discipline is not his only goal this week.

Cancellara has won the time trial at the world road race cycling championships three times, a record he shares with Australia’s Michael Rogers.

But while the Swiss is expected to battle Germany’s Tony Martin in Thursday’s 45.6km race against the clock, he is also harboring thoughts of challenging for the coveted rainbow jersey in the men’s road race on Sunday.

Cancellara missed out on a road race medal last year, despite being one of the main protagonists in the tense final lap of an epic race in Mendrisio in his native Switzerland.

After Cancellara had run out of juice, Cadel Evans attacked in the closing kilometres and went on to win Australia’s first ever world road race crown.

A year on, Cancellara still has regrets. But he believes he has a chance to make amends — if he races wisely, and strikes at the right time.

“I don’t know if Cadel was stronger than me, but I was the strongest and Cadel was the smartest,” Cancellara said on Monday as he spoke about the 2009 race.

“I did all I could to stay at the front and attack, but that was not smart of me. Now I am in a better situation.

“There are about 10 guys who can really win the race. But it is not like last year where I was a big favorite.

“The Swiss team also does not have to bear the weight of the race; we can wait for the Belgians or Italians (to take responsibility).

“I can chose when I want to put the hammer down.”

Before focusing on Sunday’s road race, held over 262.7km including 11 laps of a tough 15.9km circuit, Cancellara aims to maintain his reputation by winning the men’s time trial on Thursday.

It is held on two laps of a 22.8km circuit, most of which will be used in the road races. That means the climbs used in the road race will feature, and the course is undulating for the rest of the way.

Martin has been Cancellara’s closest rival this year, beating the Swiss in a Tour of Switzerland time trial before coming runner-up to him in the prologue and penultimate stage time trials of the Tour de France.

Australian Richie Porte has also been touted as a challenger by Cancellara, but with history-making on the agenda the Swiss seems a determined man.

“I want to make history here. Coming after Mick Rogers, who won the title three times, it would be great to do better than him,” said Cancellara, who was crowned world champion in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

“Tony Martin is getting closer but I don’t understand why he did not finish the Tour of Britain because you have to have tough competition before a time trial like this.

“It is not enough to be strong. Because of the two climbs on the course, that you have to race twice, it’s a very difficult race. You have to have a tactical approach to the race, you have to even your forces out.”