Trek-Segafredo say that Fabian Cancellara is on the road to recovery in the Giro d'Italia but has yet to decide whether he will be a contender in Sunday's 40.5km time trial through the Chianti vineyards.
"He's getting better, but slowly, and we're not talking about the TT yet," Trek Segafredo sports director Dirk Demol told Cyclingnews as the rain teemed down at the stage six start of the Giro d'Italia and riders waited until the last possible moment to emerge from the team buses.
"We'll give it a couple more days, see how he gets on and then decide what we are going to do. We haven't mentioned it to him, and he hasn't mentioned it to us. But if he did want to go for it, it's definitely the kind of time trial that would suit him. It's technical, a lot of turns, and he could try there."
Cancellara has not done a personal reconnaissance of the time trial, Demol says, but the Trek-Segafredo team has filmed the course so he will be able to familiarize himself with the twisting roads between Radda in Chianti and Greve in Chianti.
Currently in his farewell season. Cancellara's Giro d'Italia has been ole-axed by illness and a fever. His initial goal of winning the opening time trial, which would mean he had lead all three Grand Tours at least once in his career, became impossible and he has been trying to recover and rebuild his form since the opening stage in the Netherlands.
As Demol, himself a former Paris-Roubaix winner like Fabian Cancellara, pointed out, his recovery has been hampered by the changing weather in the first week of the Giro d'Italia.
"So far it's not been a really hard Giro and it's not hot now. But the weather has been very warm up until now and when you've got a bad stomach, that isn't ideal. But he's definitely better than he was," Demol told Cyclingnews.
Hesjedal disappointed to lose time, motivated for the Giro
Demol also talked about Ryder Hesjedal, Trek-Segafredo's co-leader and hope for the overall classification. The 2012 Giro d'Italia winner lost 43 seconds during the hilly finale of stage four to Praia a Mare.
"He's doing okay. He was disappointed when he got gapped on stage four because he was a bit too far back, but on the other hand that's a good sign [that he was disappointed], we can see that his motivation is high," Demol revealed.
"This is his race, he had the biggest win of his career here and had some other good results here. He's very keen to do well again."
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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