Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara will not defend his 2008 victory in Milano-Sanremo, but instead will focus on his preparation for the Northern European classics by doing the stage race Settimana Internazionele di Coppi e Bartali next week in Italy.
"I regret not being able to do Milano-Sanremo, which for obvious reasons is a race that has a special place in my heart, but I need to be realistic," said Cancellara. "It's the best decision based on the form I have right now and more importantly, for family reasons, I wasn't able to do the race on Saturday either way.
"I want to stay focused and since I had to exit Tirreno-Adriatico, I need to get more stability. I can only get that from racing and continuing my training.
"I look forward to be gaining more form in the Italian stage race and hopefully, that will help me make some progress," said Cancellara, who will race with his Saxo Bank team next starting the five-day Italian race in Riccione on March 24.
"Fabian wasn't able to finish the Tirreno-Adriatico race, but made the cautious choice of focussing on the goals ahead instead of pushing himself too far, which is totally understandable," said Team Saxo Bank's owner Bjarne Riis. "We completely support his decision and we're happy that he is already back racing next week. We need to be realistic about his current shape and thus take things step by step."
"The race next week is perfect for him to re-enter the racing programme and in that way he definitely still has a realistic chance to play an important role in Classics up north. The most important thing right now is that he gets a fair chance to work and get into shape and once that is in place, I'm sure he will be back with his usual class."