Fabian Cancellara is training for the defence of his Tour de Suisse title but the Saxo Bank rider has played down his chances of claiming the title again.
“I have started training again and I am working very intensively, including behind a motorcycle. I have to find my racing rhythm again,” he wrote on his personal website.
“As the title holder I want to put in a good performance. However I don't have the kind of form that I had before the start of last year's Tour de Suisse. For that reason the stage from Meiringen to La Punt, with the Susten, Oberalp and Albula passes, will probably be too much for me,” he explained.
Adding to the difficulties could be the continuing bad weather in Switzerland. “I hope that the weather plays along. They say it's still quite wintry on the passes,” he said. “On the Susten pass the thermometer was showing just three degrees above freezing.”
The Swiss rider is hoping to able to check out the Tour's third stage, from Sierre to Schwarzenburg. “It starts on the flat, goes up to the Col des Mosses, along the Lake of Gruyere through the Fribourg region via Tafers to Schwarzenburg. The additional lap of around 30km, two of which have an eleven percent uphill gradient, is something special,” he said.
This year's Tour de Suisse opens with a 7.6km time trial in Lugano, which the three-time world time trial champion is especially looking forward. Not only because he ought to win it, but because it also features the Fabian Cancellara Challenge.
A lucky 200 fans were able to sign up to ride the time trial course of the day of the race, and take on Cancellara. But the riders won't be trying to actually beat his time, which ought to be impossible for them anyway. Instead, they must guess the difference between their racing time and Cancellara's. Whoever comes closest, wins.