With his existing contract set to expire at the end of next season, Fabian Cancellara has strongly hinted that will retire in 2016. However, he may hang up his wheels sooner if he finds the perfect moment to step aside. That could come with a Monument win this season or the next.
"It could be, it could be and it's my decision," he told the press at the Tour of Qatar when asked if he could bow out straight after winning an edition of Paris-Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders this year or next.
"It's my decision and no one else can make it. I've been a pro since 2000 but I'm still motivated and I'm still here. The level is still here and I've been on this level since 2006 and every year I can still achieve a big goal or a big race."
"Nothing is planned, I have a contract that ends in 2016 but I've said that I want to stop on the highest level. It could be this year, it could be next year."
Cancellara is one of the most decorated Classics riders of all-time with three Tours of Flanders, three Paris-Roubaix crowns, and a Milan-Sano Remo title in his palmares. At 33 he is still considered to be at the peak of his one-day powers although his mantle as the world's best time trialist has slipped in recent years.
According the Trek Factory Racing captain, his outlook for the remaining time of his career is based on having a balanced set of objectives but also a back-to-basics approach.
"I know that these are my last years and that's no secret. That perhaps doesn't motivate me more but it does turn me back to when I was a kid," he said.
"In the last few years, the older I have become, everything has become more complicated. Whether it's internally, externally, the expectations on everything needing to be 100 per and that if things were not 100 per cent then I missed it. I tried to turn everything back and while I wouldn't call it re-starting, I just tried to think like a kid more. It's about not thinking too much, just racing, and going back to my basics. I just try to enjoy things and that's what I'm doing."