The Trek Factory Racing rider returned to action at the Tour des Fjords at the end of May, with eyes on potentially starting the Tour de France – at which he would be a favourite to win the opening prologue in Utrecht.
An illness picked up just before his home race in Switzerland set Cancellara back slightly, but it won’t stop him pushing himself as the race progresses until its conclusion on Sunday.
“It’s not the season I’d hoped for because, after missing the Classics, there’s a big hole,” Cancellara said in an interview with Swiss television channel RSI.
“I’m riding the Tour de Suisse with conviction but I got ill before the race and that cut into my training and was a mental blow too.”
He added: “At first I was just happy to ride my bike again but after you’ve trained, trained and trained, you need to race,” he added. “That’s why I decided to race in Norway.
“Racing gave me those good feeling and quality work that you don’t get in training or even when motor pacing.
“Things like the first hour of a race, when the break is trying to go away and you’re trying to control the attacks, you can’t recreate those efforts in training.”
Cancellara finished second on the opening prologue of the Tour de Suisse, two seconds behind winner and current leader Tom Dumoulin – a man who could challenge the Swiss for the first yellow jersey of the Tour de France.