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Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Friday, 17 September 2010 18:30 UK

Cancellara's fitness raises world championships doubts

World Road Championships, Melbourne
Date: 29 September-3 October Coverage: Live on BBC1, BBC2, Red Button and Online (UK only); Full coverage details

Fabian Cancellara
Cancellara failed to perform as well as expected in a recent time-trial

Fabian Cancellara's place at the World Road Championships in Melbourne at the end of the month are in doubt after he pulled out of the Tour of Spain.

The Olympic time trial champion has won the world time trial crown three times and, on current form, would be favourite for a record fourth win.

But he pulled out in Spain on the 19th of 21 stages, citing fatigue.

Recently he said any decision on taking part in Melbourne depended on whether he was "at 100% of my ability".

Cancellara, 29, won gold and bronze medals at the 2008 Olympics, in the time trial and road race, and won the world title in 2006, 2007 and 2009.


This year he won the prologue time trials of his home race, the Tour of Switzerland, and also the Tour de France, in addition to winning the 19th stage and wearing the leader's yellow jersey.

But after a successful season, the Saxo Bank rider has looked out of sorts in Spain.

On Wednesday he could only come home third in an extremely flat time trial, and on Friday, he pulled out of the event altogether, 120km into the day's 231 km stage between Piedrahita and Toledo.

Belgian's Philippe Gilbert won the stage, his second win of this year's race, with Italy's Vincenzo Nibali retaining the overall lead, and Spain's Ezequiel Mosquera in second place.

"I'm very relaxed," said Nibali ahead of Saturday's mountainous stage.

"I will face a great adversary tomorrow. I don't know the climb [but] I'm not worried."

Britain's Mark Cavendish came home in 17th place to retain the leader's jersey in the points competition.

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see also
Cavendish earns Vuelta hat-trick
16 Sep 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish eyes Spain sprint title
14 Sep 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish scores second Spain win
10 Sep 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish earns landmark victory
09 Sep 10 |  Cycling
Cancellara clinches Flanders win
04 Apr 10 |  Cycling
Cancellara targets cycling history
25 Sep 09 |  Cycling
Cancellara seals time trial glory
13 Aug 08 |  Cycling

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