Fabian Cancellara's absence would boost Bradley Wiggins

 

Reigning Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara will make a decision today on whether his injuries from the road race are too serious for him to defend his title against Bradley Wiggins on Wednesday.

Cancellara fell close to the finish after miscalculating on a sharp right-hand bend, causing serious bruising and swelling in his right shoulder. An X-ray confirmed nothing was broken but Cancellara said yesterday he'd had "a hard night with lots of pain. Happy [nothing] is broken. For the time trial nothing is sure yet. Have no words left. The tears are stronger than the pain."

Apart from wrecking his road race chances, Cancellara is considered one of the three favourites for Olympic gold, with Wiggins and 2011 world champion Tony Martin for Wednesday's 44km event.

His withdrawal would represent a major boost to Wiggins' chances, particularly after Martin withdrew from the road race complaining of pain from a wrist fracture caused by a crash on the Tour de France. On top of that, Australia's Cadel Evans is still getting over a lingering illness that poleaxed his chances in the Tour.

Other potential candidates include the American Taylor Phinney, Spanish national time trial champion Luis Leon Sanchez and Italy's Marco Pinotti, one of cycling's most accomplished time trialists, who should be ready to fill any gaps left by Cancellara and Co.

Road race winner Alexandre Vinokourov will take part in the time trial, but his appearance at the last event of his career will be largely ceremonial, with no intention of trying for a second gold for Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, the GB men's road-race leader Mark Cavendish was due to travel to Ninove in Belgium yesterday to race the first of three critériums – city centre exhibition races that traditionally form part of a top pro's post-Tour programme – across continental Europe. The Sky rider's next big event will be the Eneco Tour, a six-day stage race in the Low Countries starting on 7 August.

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