Fabian Cancellara announced that he will not ride in the World Championships this week in Varese, Italy, which means that neither of the reigning World Time Trial Champions will be there to defend their titles. Women's Champion Hanka Kupfernagel earlier announced that she would not participate.
Cancellara's Swiss teammate Michael Albasini and Germany's Linus Gerdemann cancelled their appearances as well, due to physical problems.
Cancellara, 27, won not only the last two Worlds time trials, but also the Olympic time trial, as well as third in the Beijing road race. "After my successes in Beijing, I can no longer motivate myself for the exertions," he said, according to the Swiss news agency SI. "The final 'click' is missing, to ride the Worlds and defend my title in the time trial."
Albasini's withdraw from the road race is due to a crash shortly before the Olympic Games. "My legs are okay, but I still have pain in my shoulder," the 28 year-old said. "The piece of iron they put in during the operation makes problems. I feel uncertain and I don't want to aggravate the situation."
Cancellara cannot be replaced in the time trial, as he held his starting place as defending champion. As previously announced, Ruben Bertogliati and Thomas Frei will ride the time trial for Switzerland. Andreas Dietziker and Frei will take Cancellara and Albasini spot's in the road race.
Gerdemann, the winner of the Deutschland Tour, is suffering from pain in his neck since that race. After a three-hour ride on Sunday, he told radsport-news.com, "the pains came back. Since I have hardly been able to train the last week, there is very little sense in riding in Varese." His place will be taken by André Greipel, who started out the season by winning the Tour Down Under and has gone on to take 13 wins this season, including the Kampioenschap Van Vlaanderen last Friday.
The Team Columbia sprinter, 26, "has shown an outstanding performance over the entire season and especially showed at the Deutschland Tour, that, in addition to his sprint abilities, he can work hard for the team," German cycling federation vice president Udo Sprenger said. (SW)