Leaving Team Saxo Bank was not an easy decision for Fabian Cancellara but he figured it was finally time to make a change. “It was a difficult decision, but after all, I'm not married to Riis,” he told the Belga news agency.
“I rode for Riis' team for five years, and I had doubts for a while,” the four-time world time trial champion said.
Cancellara was not the only rider to leave the Danish team, but was about the last of 11 riders to leave.
“I have nothing against the arrival of Alberto Contador, but after the exodus, I realised I was no longer in a comfortable position. It was irritating to be the last big-name to announce my leaving, but that won't sink Riis' ship.”
The offer to join the Luxembourg Cycling Project was not the only one the 29-year considered. It was “one of many offers,” and he accepted it “not because the Schleck brothers are there, but mainly because it is a team for whom cycling is more important than big names. I think that at the age of nearly 30 I have made the right decision.”
Male cyclist of the year
Cancellara was also named Swiss male cyclist of the year by Swiss Cycling, the national federation. He “wrote history twice this year,” the Federation said. “The double with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in spring were followed up by Cancellara with his fourth world time trial championship title. A distinction which no other cyclist has achieved.”
Mountain biking dominated the other three awards. Female cyclist of the year was Esther Süss, winner of the world and European mountainbike marathon championships. Mountainbiker Mathias Flückiger was the best young rider, while the world and European champions relay team took the best team title.