Cancellara: I never wanted to be a coach; that's not Fabian
Retired rider says those driven solely by money do not find success
Fabian Cancellara has said that he doesn’t miss racing or even being competitive, and he has no desire to take on a role as a directeur sportif in the future. Speaking with the Spanish publication expansion.com, Cancellara said he prefers to manage sports events rather than teams and he has even gone back to school as he focuses on his next step in life.
“I did not want to be coach of a cycling team or coach of athletes. That's not Fabian, and I do not like it,” he said. “I prefer to dedicate myself to the management of sporting events, step by step and starting from scratch. I just finished my studies and achieved certification as a Sports Manager at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. It was not easy for me to go to college. But I'm glad I made it.”
Cancellara called time on his 16-year career at the end of the 2016 season after winning his second Olympic time trial title. It was a fairytale ending to what was, at times, a frustrating final season that saw several near misses at the Classics and in the Grand Tours. Cancellara was not tempted into another season, though - not even a half season to have another bash at the Classics. Now that he has stepped past the point of retirement he doesn’t want to go back.
“Not at all,” he said when asked if he missed life as a professional cyclist. “Nor do I want to win the sportives that I ride. That has ended. A lot of the time you can be happy with less. That can be just the difference to be happy. Besides, I do not have time to play sports.
“My job is something else. I run, pedal, practice skiing, tennis, badminton. I strengthen the body with a personal trainer. I do it because it motivates me and gives me energy. I have to schedule my sports sessions well, like any normal person. I also have my family, my wife and two daughters. My little girl wants to be with her dad and during testing times she wants to recite my lesson. Tell me, are you going to listen to me, Dad? For me it is important, and I like it.”
As well as spending more time with his family and finding new ways of keeping fit, Cancellara has been working on a number of projects. He has become a shareholder in several companies, including sports event organisers Tristar Triathlon and Chasing Cancellara, and bicycle component company Omata. He also remains involved with Trek bicycles and Gore clothing, among many others, using his experience to test and develop products. The plentiful projects keep him busy, but Cancellara says that he’s not driven by the money side of it.
“Money is not what makes you happy at the end of the day,” said Cancellara. “Obviously, to make ends meet, it's clear you need it. But life is not just money. Health, friends, and, of course, family must also be paramount. Having more money does not change your life, as can the motivation of the people around you. My life is different now because I have to make money for many years. I have to look for stability and work at a new pace. But I do not work to make money."
Cancellara added that riders who find their motivation solely in money struggle to find success in the biggest events. “If you compete solely for the money, as a professional athlete, you do not get results,” he said.
“In my career, when it came to signing for one team or another, I always looked first and foremost at the sporting aspects. Where was it okay? Where could I have a good team? I never moved for money, as in football. It is not possible with cycling. Does money give you happiness? Maybe for one or two months. But afterwards? It doesn’t.”
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By Josh Croxton