Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) got his team’s season off the mark with a memorable win in Strade Bianche on Saturday but admitted that he’s still short of his best form as he takes aim on another spring classics campaign.
The Swiss rider was arguably the strongest rider during last season’s spring classics but missed out on a big win. He was also roundly beaten by rival Tony Martin in the majority of their time trial battles but his Strade Bianche performance has laid down a marker for the Classics and Cancelllara believes that his form is moving in a positive direction.
“I always ride to win,” he said in his winner’s press conference.
“Last year maybe I was missing a little bit but you can’t do anything about it. I gave it 100 percent in training and even this winter I said I’d gave 100 percent and even if I don’t win races I’ll be satisfied. If you make mistakes you can’t be happy but today it all went perfect and thanks to work of the team and especially Daniele Bennati I won.”
Cancellara will use Tirreno-Adriatico to fine tune his form ahead of Milan San-Remo but an ominous omen for his rivals lies in the fact that his previous triumph in Strade Bianche came the same year as his win in la classica di Primavera, back in 2008.
“I hadn’t raced since Oman and today felt there was something missing: the race rhythm. I don’t know where my form is at the moment. It’s not 100 percent. I’m on the way to improving. That’s important. It’s important to stay relaxed.”
Cancellara added that his win today was as due to his own mental fortitude and strength as much as his pure talent. Having lost his uncle just a few days ago, he used the grief to spur him on in.
“A lot of things came to mind during the race: winning, but also about the sacrifices we have to make. I also thought about my uncle, who I lost a few days ago. I won thanks more to my mental strength than my physical strength,” he said.
“Life is short, even if I’m still young. You learn more about life and how short it is when you lose people. You understand that you have to be happy with your life and with things like family and find quality in your life. That’s the most important thing. Today I managed to transform my pain into something positive.”