Grabsch hopes for 2009 Worlds duel with Cancellara

The 2008 World Time Trial Champion would like to ride against the 2006 and 2007 World Time Trial...

The 2008 World Time Trial Champion would like to ride against the 2006 and 2007 World Time Trial Champion in the 2009 showdown. "I hope it comes to a duel again – maybe next year in Mendrisio – and that I can beat him," German Bert Grabsch said after winning the Worlds title last month in the absence of 'Spartacus' Fabian Cancellara.

Asked if the 33 year-old would have been able to beat Cancellara a little more than a week ago in Varese, he told, "Everything was possible that day. Of course, it's hard to say. I would have been able to beat him in his Tour of Poland form. But that's exactly why he renounced his participation."

While he was underway on the course, he never knew that he might have the best time for the win. "I only noticed on the climb after 30km that it was going well," Grabsch said. "So I knew I would have a good result. But there were still 12 riders to come after me."

After crossing the finish line in the best time, he went to sit on the "hot seat," which actually had a disadvantage. "The bad thing was that I couldn't follow the race because I couldn't see any of the TV screens," Grabsch noted. "I kept asking our team doctor, who could see the standings. He gave me the times of my rivals."

Grabsch, who rides for Team Columbia, got off to a slow start in the season, which he blamed on the weather difference between the training camp in California and his immediate first race, the Volta ao Algarve, where it rained the entire time. "After Algarve I needed two months to come back into form." He won the German time trial title for the second year in a row but wasn't nominated to the Tour de France team.

He extended with the USA-based team for another year. Grabsch admitted that when he had not received an offer from Columbia by the beginning of June, "my manager asked Milram, but they didn't want me." He then gladly signed the new contract with Columbia, although "I would rather have had two years, but these days you can't wait too long. I am now 33 and as an older rider, it is hard to find a new team."

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