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Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) after the finish
Cancellara disappointed after strong showing by Swiss riders at home
Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara came agonisingly close to becoming the first cyclist to win the World Championship time trial and road race in the same year. He was part of a decisive, final-lap move in today's road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland, but finished fifth, three days after winning time trial gold.
"I thought it was possible to double; it was my dream, my objective. I always believed that, right up until the end," Cancellara said.
Team Switzerland rode strongly on home soil and set Cancellara up with the opportunity to realise his dream. Oliver Zaugg, Michael Albasini and Rubens Bertogliati placed their captain in the front for the final two of 19 circuits, which included the climbs of the Acqua Fresca and the Novazzano.
Cancellara took advantage of his speed and power on the descents and flats to string out his rivals on the penultimate descent from the summit of the Acqua Fresca.
"If you look at those who where ahead in the end – three Spaniards and Damiano Cunego [Italy] – the best were there and our team did a great ride."
Spain put Cancellara in a difficult position on the final lap. It had Joaquím Rodríguez, Alejandro Valverde and Samuel Sánchez in the final move of eight men. Cancellara put in another hard acceleration coming off the Acqua Fresca, in a final attempt to free himself, but three men slipped away. Rodríguez, Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) and eventual winner Cadel Evans (Australia) were able to escape as the race approached the Novazzano and the final five kilometres.
"I raced until my legs would not go further. I gave it all I could on the descents and ascents, but Spain was always there behind me. It was almost impossible to do what I wanted to do.
"It slipped out of my hands. I'll have to recover from this one because it is hard when you get so close but fail."
Spain's Abraham Olano was the only rider to win both the World Championship time trial and road race, though not in the same year. He won the road race in 1995 in Bogota, Colombia, and the time trial in 1998 in Valkenburg, Netherlands.
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