Cancellara's retirement decision not prompted by 2015 injuries, says coach

Fabian Cancellara's decision to retire at the end of 2016 was decided when he signed a contract in 2014, according to coach Dirk Demol

Fabian Cancellara wins stage two of the 2015 Tour of Oman
(Image credit: Watson)

Fabian Cancellara always planned to retire at the end of the 2016 season, according to Trek sports director Dirk Demol, with the decision not based on his bad luck with injuries in 2015.

The Swiss suffered two broken backs - once at E3 Harelbeke and again at the Tour de France - and was forced to withdraw from the Vuelta a España and World Championships with illness.

But Demol insists that Cancellara signed a three year contract with Trek in 2014, with the idea that he would retire at the end of it.

"The decision to quit next year was already taken," Demol told Sporza. "From the moment the Trek Factory Racing team was launched, he signed a contract for three years, and it was clear that it would be his last contract. He has stuck to that.

“He has put the bad luck this year behind him but 2016 was always going to be his last year.”

Watch highlights of stage three of the Tour de France, where Cancellara crashed

The Classics specialist was forced to sit out his favourite races in 2015 after the E3 crash sidelined him for the entire spring.

Demol says that Cancellara wouldn't be taking things easy in 2016, though, with the prospect of adding to his seven Monument wins at Milan-San Remo, Paris Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.

"He's a proud rider and wants to say goodbye in style. He will be only 35 and wants to go [to the Classics] again in earnest,” Demol added, denying that the rider would walk away if he won one of the Classics.

“It has not been mentioned that he would stop immediately if he wins. He wants to go out there for a full year."

Demol cites the fact that the Tour de France visits Bern, where Cancellara lives, in July as a reason for the Swiss rider to ride on after the Classics, but said that his final race has not been decided.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.