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Fabian Cancellara had a shower on the Leopard Trek team bus and then headed to Bilbao airport for a flight home to Switzerland after Tuesday's sixteenth stage of the Vuelta, as his thoughts turned to his final preparation or the world championships.
Cancellara confirmed to Cyclingnews that he will target both the time trial and the road this year in Copenhagen. He is convinced the suffering and hard work he has endured day after day at the Vuelta will give him the perfect base for a shot at two world titles.
"I think I've done the work I needed to do and so I'm heading home happy, knowing I'm on track for the world championships," Cancellara from the front seat of the Leopard Trek team car.
"I rode the Tour de France and pretty soon after came here to the Vuelta. It's been a really hard race. The first week was especially tough with the heat but then I bounced back in the second week and rode well. I'm happy with what I've done.
"I was dedicated to help Daniele Bennati in the sprints and Jakob [Fuglsang] and Maxime [Monfort], our duo for the GC. In order to be fresh in Copenhagen, I need to take some rest now and then pick up training again. I'm heading home to finish things off."
Cancellara will target a fifth world time trial in Copenhagen after winning time trial titles in 2007, 2007, 2009 and 2010. He is also chasing a different rainbow jersey in the rainbow. The largely flat course perhaps suits the sprinters better but Cancellara seems to know he has a chance of victory if he can produce a late attack.
Facing a 266km road race, Cancellara said he needs to now get some long rides in to top off his preparation for Copenhagen.
"At the Vuelta we didn't actually race a lot of kilometres and we never went over five hours. That's something I can work on at home and I can also do speed work behind a motorbike and other specific training."
Targeting a major time trial and then a road race will also be a vital test for the London 2012 Olympics where Cancellara will represent Switzerland in both events.
"I was originally going to just ride the time trial but I've realised I can't miss the world championships," he said. "It'll also be an important test for the London Olympics next year."
RadioShack-Nissan-Trek in 2012
The announcement of the of the creation of the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team for 2012 has left many people at Leopard Trek in shock and the mood was sombre at the start and finish of the Vuelta stage to Haro.
Cancellara has been confirmed as part of the powerful line-up of the new super team and will be one of its big stars. However it is unclear what support he will have for the cobbled classics.
He is never shy of speaking his mind to the media but preferred to avoid going into detail on the possible consequences of the merger and the surprise decision by team owner Flavio Becca to join forces with Johan Bruyneel and his RadioShack team.
"I don't want to think about it now," Cancellara said. "We don't know a lot about it at the moment. Some decisions have been made but for now I'm focusing on the world championships."