By Daniel Benson in Montluçon
After finishing a surprisingly low fifth in the first time trial at the Tour de France, world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara remains a favourite for tomorrow's final race of truth.
And on any other course at any other race the Swiss ace, who recently signed a new three-year contract with Team CSC-Saxo Bank, would find himself as favourite. However in the last three weeks he has found himself working at the helm, first for Fränk Schleck and now Carlos Sastre. Dropped from the bunch on Friday's stage Cancellara was quick to admit that his body is starting to pay the price.
"I've used a lot of energy at the Tour and today was one of the hardest stages. There was no rest as it was the last chance for many riders to win something. Now I have look forward and be positive for tomorrow," he said.
Despite his aim to go for the win tomorrow he'll still be riding within the remit of the dutiful team-mate. Starting before Sastre, he will surely be relaying any course information for his leader's benefit.
"I don't have to give advice to Carlos, he just needs to give his best that he can. It's 53 kilometres so it's not like the first time trial, but it's the end of the Tour and a lot of riders will be tired."
When asked what wearing yellow might do for Carlos, Cancellara smiled, perhaps remembering his days in yellow last year. "The yellow will give you more, you have something different inside you. It makes you go over you limits and Carlos will not want to give it away on the last day. The team knows that he will do his best."
Before ducking into the team bus for a well-deserved rest he added, "Cadel has much more pressure on him. He's been riding to save time and has followed wheels in this race, not taking risks. Tomorrow we'll see a big battle for the yellow jersey."