Cancellara starting under Arabian sun

Swiss missed much of January training camp due to influenza

Fabian Cancellara of Saxo Bank has joined the list of those whose off-season preparations have not gone according to plan. The World time trial champion was laid low for 10 days with influenza the beginning of the year, and had to miss much of the team's training camp on the Spanish island of Fuertaventura.

To catch up, the 28-year-old took his family to Spain and trained there, according to the Berner Zeitung, before making his way to his first race of the season, the Tour of Qatar, to be followed by the Tour of Oman.

The Swiss rider is not looking for results in the two desert races, which will be marked by strong winds and mass sprint finishes. His first season test will be Tirreno-Adriatico mid-March. Reportedly, he will again skip Milano-Sanremo, which he won in 2008. Cancellara is set to ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the Tour de Suisse, where he will be defending the overall title, and the Tour de France.

Any other racing will depend upon his form at the time, he said.

In 2009, in addition to the World time trial title and the Tour de Suisse overall, Cancellara won the opening time trial at the Tour de France and wore the leader's yellow jersey for six stages. He won both time trials at the Vuelta de Espana and wore the leader's gold jersey in that race for five stages. Last year, Cancellara started all three Grand Tours, but finished only the Tour de France.

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