Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara was a surprise name on the Olympic men's road race podium – it was much more expected to see the tall CSC-Saxo Bank rider atop the time trial podium on Wednesday. But while that scenario may still come true, Cancellara himself is pleased to have taken a medal for his country, even if it did come as a surprise.
"Bronze is definitely a nice and unexpected surprise. It really takes a lot of pressure of me before the time trial since now I already have a medal to take home from here," said Cancellara.
"At first I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to win, but I quickly realized that I did very well – better than I could have expected in advance," Cancellara added.
Cancellara rode across the gap on the final circuit to his trade team-mate Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia), and Michael Rogers (Australia) like he had a motorcycle underneath him. He then helped drive the pace to bring this second group up to the leading trio of Andy Schleck, another CSC-Saxo Bank rider, Davide Rebellin (Italy), Samuel Sánchez (Spain).
Yet the affiliation of the riders outside of the Olympic Games had no bearing on Cancellara's decision to race the way he did. "I managed to ride exactly the right race. I believe I did everything right which was actually quite simple most of the time, since all I could do was follow the favourites' moves bearing in mind I had no team-mates.
"I saw I had to do something, otherwise I would not get up there. I knew that I had team-mates from Team CSC Saxo Bank up there, but you don't ride with your team-mates at the Olympics. I had to do it alone, which shows that I did very well today," he said.