Fabian Cancellara is struck down with a fever the day before the Giro d'Italia's 'Big Start' in Apeldoorn

Fabian Cancellara may not be in contention for the win on Friday’s 9.8km time trial to start the Giro d’Italia, with the Swiss rider revealing he’s been struck down with a fever just one day before the race.

Wearing the maglia rosa was one of Cancellara’s main goals in his final season, but the the seven-time monument winner will reportedly spend all of Thursday in bed trying to shake his illness ahead of Friday’s first stage.

Trek-Segafredo manager Luca Guercilena confirmed to Cycling Weekly that the 35-year-old, who will retire at the end of the season, felt achey after yesterday’s training ride and it has developed into a full-blown fever.

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“The only thing we can do right now is to let him rest, see how he is today and then tomorrow,” he said. “Sometimes when you completely clean the body with gastroenteritis then you get better, you feel really strong because from completely empty you start to fill up the tank with energy.

“That can be useful on a medium term view, but on a short prologue of 9km when you need the power, you need the speed, it’s more complicated.”

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He added: “It’s not the ideal situation, we came here just to win the prologue and he wanted that pink jersey, and now the motivation is not so good, for everybody, because we worked hard to make him good for the TT.”

Cancellara has never won a stage at the Giro d’Italia and was targeting the opening time trial for his first pink jersey. Should he recover fully from his fever, he will surely be one of the favourites for the long, technical time trial on stage nine.