When Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) is on - he's on. Strade Bianche was an early indicator that the Swiss rider was back in career best form, but doubts remained. His performance yesterday in the Tirreno Adriatico final stage time trial, however, should put any questions to bed. The crowd at San Benedetto del Tronto were treated to a Cancellara special, the 30-year-old dominating the 9.3 kilometre course in a way that only he can.
Shades of his stellar 2010 are certainly apparent and with his rivals for La Classicissima seemingly unsure of their form, Cancellara has only strengthened his credentials as one of the favourites for Saturday's Milan-San Remo.
"I know where my form is now after 30 hours on the bike and I have a lot of confidence," said a confident Cancellara after his win in Tirreno. Runner-up in both Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix last year, Cancellara says he's serene about his chances this year.
"I’ll have a few days rest now and then Milan-San Remo on Saturday. I feel calm about the race. It’s a race where no one can predict what’s going to happen. I’ve won before in 2008 but I think that was a surprise and now everyone watches me so it isn’t so easy. I’m not 100 per cent yet - but come Saturday I’ll definetely be ready to race."
RadioShack-Nissan will also have the services of a resurgent Daniele Bennati on Saturday. The Italian is a strong alternate option for the sprint if Cancellara is unable to cause the damage he needs to over the Poggio. Sporting director Luca Guercilena said the team were all looking really good, having 'clicked' over the past week.
"We had a stage of 230 km and one of 260 km, which comes close to the length of la Primavera," Guercilena explained. "The guys all come out of Tirreno-Adriatico in good shape and are ready for Milan-San Remo."