LONDON (AFP) — Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara will fight through the pain of an injured shoulder to defend his Olympic time trial crown on Wednesday.
Cancellara crashed heavily while in contention for a medal in the men’s road race on Saturday, injuring his shoulder but crucially avoiding fracturing his collarbone.
The Swiss, also a four-time world champion in the race against the clock, admitted Monday that he was “still in pain.”
But despite appearing to still place doubt on his intentions for the 44km race, held around Hampton Court Palace, a brief statement from his team said he would be at the start line.
“Cancellara will start in the time trial on Wednesday,” said the statement on the Swiss Olympic Association website www.swissolympic.ch.
Cancellara’s presence will add prestige to a competition in which hosts Britain will be looking to be among the medals.
Recent Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins claimed the yellow jersey largely due to his crushing victories in the two long time trials that featured on the race.
Wiggins, who already has three Olympic golds from track cycling’s pursuit events, will line up as the favorite ahead of Cancellara, Germany’s Tony Martin, fellow Briton Chris Froome and Gustav Larsson of Sweden.
If Cancellara overcomes the pain of his injury to medal on Wednesday, it would be yet another dramatic episode in what has been a troubled season for him so far.
The Swiss, one of the sport’s biggest one-day classics champions, broke his right collarbone in four places when he crashed at the Tour of Flanders in April. He still has a metal pin in his right shoulder.
He bounced back in style at the Tour de France earlier this month, winning the opening prologue and wearing the yellow jersey for the first seven stages before ending his race early to be with his expectant wife.
Cancellara admitted the pain in his shoulder left him feeling it was “almost broken.”
But he added: “I’m optimistic. I have to think positive otherwise I could have flown home already yesterday.”