Fabian Cancellara has abandoned the Vuelta a Espana midway through stage 19 with doubts still hanging over both his participation in the upcoming Worlds in Melbourne, Australia, and his choice of team for next year. Still under contract with Saxo Bank's Bjarne Riis for one more season, the Swiss powerhouse meanwhile admitted to L'Equipe this morning that he was negotiating his current commitment.
Rumour has it that Cancellara could buy himself out of his current contract in view of joining another team, possibly the new outfit created around the Schleck brothers in Luxembourg. But another new squad, Australian Pegasus Racing has also contacted Cancellara's agent, as well as the American BMC team. Asked where he would race next year, the two-time Paris-Roubaix winner told L'Equipe, "I still have one more year of contract with Saxo Bank and we are currently discussing it."
The Swiss rider could thus decide to leave the team, just like he could opt to stay. "Bjarne and I are adults and every one of us needs to find his advantages in the deal. I want our discussions to focus on the human and professional aspect of my career, and not only on numbers," he added.
Cancellara has worked with three team managers in his professional career: First with Patrick Lefevere at Mapei (2001-2002), then with Giancarlo Ferretti at Fassa Bortolo (2003-2005), and finally with Riis at CSC and later Saxo Bank (since 2006). "I think I have always taken the right decisions in my career. Every year, I've taken it one step further."
But now, the mutliple world champion wants to "remain the leader of my destiny. I haven't settled my future yet. I don't want to hurt Bjarne, nor Alberto [Contador, the new team leader]... not even Fränk [Schleck]," he said.
His participation in the Worlds two weeks from now is also still uncertain. Having been beaten by Peter Velits and Denis Menchov in the last time trial at the Vuelta, 'Spartacus' may be a bit tired at this end of a season that saw him win many prestigious races.
"I want to be at a 100 percent of my abilities before deciding whether I take part or not," he admitted. "At this event, I have more to lose than to gain if I'm not at the top. I have a status that I need to honour: by winning Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, two stages at the Tour and having worn the yellow jersey, I think I have achieved a great year. I have nothing further to prove."