Fabian Cancellara is looking forward to racing on the cobbles at the Tour de France on Tuesday and hopes to be wearing the yellow jersey during the stage after success in the prologue time trial.
This year's Paris-Roubaix winner rode the pavé sections of stage 3 with his Saxo Bank teammates twice on Wednesday. “Unbelievable,” said Andy Schleck after seeing him on the pavé. “Fabian doesn't rattle over the stones, he flies.”
Cancellara admitted he enjoyed the ride. “It was a wonderful feeling to see the pavés in summer for a change. I am ready to master them with the yellow jersey on my shoulders.”
Cancellara skipped the Swiss national championships this year, and his last race was the Tour de Suisse. Last year he won his home stage race and went on to win the Tour de France prologue and wear the yellowe jersey for six days. He won the opening time trial in the Tour de Suisse this year but was only 56th overall and was only second in the closing time trial, 17 seconds behind HTC-Columbia rider Tony Martin.
He blamed it on the weather. “I wasn't 100% motivated after riding so long in the rain. In my head I was already at the Tour,” he said.
It will be interesting to see if he will be back to his dominant best on Saturday in the 8.9km Tour de France prologue around Rotterdam. A question also remains regarding his future. Team owner Bjarne Riis is still looking for a sponsor for 2011, but has said the team will continue no matter what. Unlike the Schleck brothers, Cancellara is under contract with Riis for the 2011 season and so may have to stay with him even if the Swiss-registered BMC team would love to sign him.
The recently sacked directeur sportif Kim Andersen was an important figure for Cancellara at Saxo Bank but he will not be at the Tour de France as he is setting up his own team in Luxembourg. However, the prospect of a different directeur sportif doesn't bother the World and Olympic champion.
“When I won Flanders and Roubaix in April, Thorsten Schmidt sat in the team car. It will work with him too,” he said, dismissing the possible effects of the loss of Andersen.