Tour de France leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) has admitted that he is not confident of his chances of wearing the yellow jersey when the race reaches Switzerland on Sunday. He also dampened speculation that he might target the Tour's overall classification in coming seasons.
Having notched up five days in the yellow jersey and with at least another one to come, Cancellara says that he has a tough task ahead if he is to reach Switzerland in yellow, particularly in Saturday's stage to La Planche des Belles Filles. "Everything is possible in life if you believe in it. However, in my opinion, from what I've seen of the Planche des Belles Filles climb and what I've heard about it, it's a little bit too hard for me," he said after stage five into St-Quentin.
"I expect to see the GC riders creating some damage for the first time. But as long as I get to that stage with the yellow jersey then I will be happy and then after that we'll see," he added.
The RadioShack-Nissan star also played down speculation that he might target the Tour's general classification. "I've already said many times about the Tour that winning it is a dream and not a goal. Those are two different things. That's why winning the Tour will always remain a dream for me. I won't work for a dream. I have goals and there are some big Classic races that I still want to win, and those goals are possible."
Cancellara broke a long-standing Tour record today when he finished in the bunch behind stage-winner André Greipel. The 31-year-old Swiss has now spent 27 days in yellow, a new high for a rider who has not won the Tour. The record was previously been held by René Vietto, who rode between the world wars.
"That record will stay with me until I retire," said Cancellara, who confessed yesterday that he hadn't previously known Vietto's name, but would be very proud if he could beat the Frenchman's record.
Cancellara also said he would like to return to the Giro d'Italia with a view to holding the leader's jersey in that race. "I've already worn the yellow jersey at the Tour, the yellow jersey at the Vuelta and I've still got one jersey missing from my palmarès and that's the maglia rosa," he said.
"Normally, if there is a prologue there is a pretty big possibility of this happening. It depends on how they set up the route of the Giro d'Italia. Next year I've heard the race will start in Napoli but I don't know whether there will be a prologue or not. We shall see…"
Asked if there had been any talk in the bunch about the latest news relating to the USADA investigation, Cancellara said not, but added that he hopes the affair won't drag on. "I hope it's not going to take three or four years like some other cases. That's my biggest concern. It should be dealt with quickly," he commented.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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