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Racer leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan)
No Worlds for four-time champion
Fabian Cancellara has put an end to his 2012 season. He will undergo further surgery on the collarbone he shattered in the spring, skip the World Championships and then start training again in October for the 2013 season.
The Swiss rider will continue to ride for his current team RadioShack-Nissan in the coming season, despite payment difficulties and rumours about the team's future existence. The team has announced signings for the coming year, indicating it will continue, and has made clear that it expects riders with existing contracts for the 2013 season to fulfil those contracts.
That affects Cancellara, whose contract runs through the 2013 season, and as his manager Armin Meier told tagesanzeiger.ch, “one must say, he has a very good contract.”
Cancellara has only four wins the season: Strade Bianche, the Tirreno-Adriatico time trial, the national time trial title, and the Tour de France prologue.
Other than that, it has been a year of disappointments for him. Instead of the hoped-for win in Milan-San Remo, he finished second. The major blow came at the Tour of Flanders on April 1, when he crashed over a bidon in the feed zone and shattered his collarbone. That kept him out of action until the end of May.
After finishing second in both Tour de Suisse time trials, he won the Tour de France prologue and went on to wear the leader's jersey for seven stages. He abandoned the race after 10 stages to attend his daughter's birth and to prepare for the Olympics.
He went to London with the hopes of double gold medals, but his hopes came to an end about 15 km away from the finish in the road race. He was in the lead group when he misjudged a corner and crashed into the barriers, ultimately finishing the race as 103rd. The effects of the crash stayed with him in the Olympic time trial and he was unable to challenge the podium of Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin and Chris Froome, finishing only seventh.
“He lost the Olympic time trial in his head, not because of the physical problems from the crash,” Meier said. “It was just all too much for him.”
Within the next two weeks, Cancellara will undergo surgery to have the screws in his now-healed collarbone removed, and as of October he will return to training.
That means, however, that he will miss the World Championships, which does not make Swiss Cycling happy. “We are trying to make it clear to him that it wouldn't hurt him to continue to race,” said the federation's head of competitive sports, Thomas Peter.