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Swiss rider to test final form in Strade Bianche and Tirreno
Fabian Cancellara is ready for the Classics season, Trek Factory Racing sports director Dirk Demol told Sporza. “He missed some training in January due to a crash but we've made up for that lack of training days now. I think Fabian is ready,” Demol said.
Cancellara was the star of the spring classics season last year with victories in the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and E3 Harelbeke. For Demol, Milan-San Remo counts as the start of an important period for the Swiss rider and his team.
“We noticed that some teams are further ahead in their preparation than we are but it’s a matter of choice. We decided to do an easy build-up towards Milan-San Remo. We are now trying to make up towards the other teams.”
Cancellara started the season in Dubai and raced the Tours of Qatar and Oman. He finished fifth in the Tour of Dubai time trial and the general classification. In Qatar, the former Olympic and world time trial champion finished fourth in his specialty. For Demol these race days were important to make up for lost training time in January.
“Fabian couldn’t train for a week after a training crash in January because he hurt his elbow, but with 16 race days in February he is back on track,” Demol continued.
“The moment of truth is now coming closer,” Demol said. “I am relaxed when it comes to Fabian’s form. I have seen him race but I will be totally at ease after this weekend [with Strade Bianche] and after the Tirreno. Then we really know where we stand.”
As a former winner of Strade Bianche , Cancellara knows the race well. “It counts as a test to see where we are at the moment. It’s a hard race. Then comes Tirreno with a team time trial, an individual time trial and some long stages as well. Just like previous year we decided to start with our classics team in Tirreno.”
One of the names on the classics team is Stijn Devolder. The Belgian rider won the Tour of Flanders twice but has failed to scale the same heights since. For Demol, Devolder is an important rider for the team.
“Fabian is our captain, there is no doubt about that. But we need to be in the final [of the classics] with as many riders as we can. Devolder had an injury last year which meant he had to take a long break. He is back now, both physically and mentally. He is ambitious and ready to go. As a protected rider, Stijn has an important role to play to help Fabian in the final but Fabian remains our only captain.”