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Cancellara’s last victory in the Tour de France came in 2012, and after a disappointing season since winning Strade Bianche in March, in which he missed out on adding any Monuments to his already glittering palmarès, the 35-year-old will be hoping for one last win in the stage to his home town before he retires.
“Of course I’m quite looking forward to Monday, especially arriving in my home town, it’s pretty special,” Cancellara said.
“It’ll be a lifetime experience because I live 4km from the finish line…but I try to be as relaxed as possible.
“I think [Monday] will be more emotional because there’s kind of my own expectation but there’s also for sure somehow some expectation from others, but I think that’s normal.
“I’m riding on all home grounds and roads, I know all the last kilometres blind. It’s not just a criterium race that finishes in the city it’s the Tour, so it’s going to be a big race for sure.
“If it’s a one-day race then it’s different, after a day like today [stage 15] which we’re gonna have, tomorrow the whole thing will be a totally different scenario. It’s going to be a tough one because it’s tricky, it’s cobbles and it’s not a secret that I’m living in this town.”
The rises towards the finish look to be enough to put the pure sprinters in difficulty, though the likes of Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) have already said the stage could come down to a sprint.
Trek will have to play some risk to get Cancellara to the line though, with protecting Bauke Mollema top of the priority list with the Dutchman still fighting for a podium place in GC. However, they’re hoping some of Cancellara’s local knowledge will come in useful.
“We did almost the same finish in the Tour de Suisse two years ago and so I know it a little bit,” said Cancellara’s teammate Gregory Rast. “It’s clear the real sprinters are going to have trouble there; it’s going to be for guys like Fabian, Greg Van Avermaet and Peter Sagan of course.
“It’s going to be a bit of a gamble [with Bauke], because of the breakaway maybe, and maybe if it’s not a breakaway then it’s clear that Fabian knows he needs to be on the front and that’s maybe an advantage because we can stay with him and Bauke can then stay with us.
“It’s clear For the GC guys they can’t be sitting in the back riding into the finish they need to fight tomorrow.”