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Ahead of Saturday's opening individual time trial of the 102nd edition of the Tour de France, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) admits that he has already contemplated that this, his tenth appearance at the Tour, could be the last in his distinguished career.
"Nothing is decided yet because in cycling you never know how your programme can be changed," Cancellara said in a pre-race press conference.
>>> How support cars could save riders six seconds in Tour de France time trial
"It's my 10th Tour and it might look like it would be the last, but for now I'm focussing on now and not looking to next year."
The Swiss time trial and Classics specialist has taken eight Tour stages since winning the Prologue of his very first Tour de France in 2004, and holds the dubious honour of being the rider to hold the maillot jaune for the most days in his career without ever winning the race.
But Spartacus is still not lacking ambition despite the possibility of this being his Tour swansong.
"I thought about this could be my last participation and last possibility to arrive in Paris, yes this is in my mind," he added.
"I have my goals and my ambitions but first I will try also to enjoy the race and all the experience I have to put it into the race because it is a special one, a tough one. I will do what I can."
>>> Who are the bookies backing for stage one of the Tour de France?
Despite not officially being a Prologue, the 13.8km time trial on the 2015 Tour's first stage will be another chance for the 34-year-old to have another stint in the yellow jersey, but will face stiff competition from the likes of Tony Martin (Etixx - Quick-Step), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and Movistar pair Alex Dowsett and Adriano Malori.
"I'm confident and looking forward to it," Cancellara said of the opening race against the clock.
"I had a tough time before the Tour de Suisse and during the Tour de Suisse but I'm looking forward to this.
"Also I'm used to dealing with pressure and ambitions. There will be a few riders I'll have to look into but in the end it's you and your bike. You have to give maximum effort in those 13km."
Your guide to the 2015 Tour de France Grand Départ
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Follow on Twitter: @richwindy
Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.
An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).
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