Fabian Cancellara was the first rider confirmed with the revamped Trek team for the 2014 season, but the 32-year-old has acknowledged that the three-year contract he signed might prove to be the final one of his career.
"It might be, because it’s 14 years now," Cancellara said during an appearance on the "Reyers Laat" talk show on Belgian television station VRT. "It’s not that it’s enough because you can keep riding until you’ve had enough. Look at Jens Voigt and Chris Horner, winning the Vuelta at 42.
"I won’t say I could stop now because I’m still fresh, I’m still motivated and I have the fire you need, but the more you travel during the season, you say 'hey, maybe you’re getting older and older.' I’m not really super old but somehow I am old because I have so many years on my shoulders."
In particular, Cancellara pointed to the difficulty of spending so much time away from his family over the course of the season, noting that he typically spends up to 250 nights on the road each year.
"Cycling is not everything in life. It’s a passion, a job, something I love and something I’ve taken a lot from. I’ve learnt a lot and it’s a big life experience but what is tomorrow? When something happens, what is tomorrow? There is a new life."
That new life is at least three years away, of course, and Cancellara is already looking ahead to the 2014 campaign, where he headlines the Trek squad, which starts afresh following the departure of former sponsor RadioShack and erstwhile backer, Flavio Becca.
Although Cancellara’s race programme is yet to be decided – the team’s first meetings take place in Belgium this week – the classics and world championships will once again be his primary aims. After skipping the Tour de France in 2013, Cancellara was non-committal about the prospect of returning to La Grande Boucle next season.
"I don’t know," he said of the Tour. "The beginning and the end of the year will be the main focus."
The world championships road race in Ponferrada will be the focus of the second part of Cancellara’s season, and he admitted that the rainbow jersey is the honour he covets the most. "I have not so many chances properly left. On the road, I haven’t got what I want to achieve. But if you look at [Michele] Bartoli, he also never won the Worlds and he was everywhere else on the palmares," he said.
Cancellara has been heavily linked with an attempt on the world hour record in recent weeks, but he was unable to shed any further light on when he might take on the challenge. "I’d like to do it but it’s a big question mark, because it’s not something where you just go and do it," he said. "There’s a lot of tactics, technical questions, the track, so many things."
Cancellara also revealed that the new-look Trek team will be formally presented in Roubaix on January 10.