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Swiss champion Fabian Cancellara to defend gold medal in time trial after crash in road race

07/30/2012 10:11 EDT | Updated 09/29/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara plans to defend his time trial gold medal Wednesday after a nasty crash late in the road race put his Olympic future in question.

The four-time world champion was in the lead group Saturday when he misjudged a late turn and crashed into a barrier. He finished the race but was holding up his right arm afterward, and said on Twitter that he had X-rays taken at a clinic in the athletes' village.

"I feel better with every hour passing," Cancellara said Monday from his team hotel. "I have to be positive, otherwise I would have been home already. I'm a hard man."

Cancellara then trained for the first time since his crash and spent about two hours on his time trial bike. The Swiss team said in a statement he is still experiencing pain in his right shoulder, adding that a decision on his participation in the race against the clock will be made Wednesday morning at the latest.

Cancellara broke his right collarbone in the Tour of Flanders earlier this year, causing him to miss two months or racing, and thought he may have done so again.

"I am lucky it is not broken, but it feels like it is," he said. "When I was in the ambulance, I told the doctor that it felt broken. I could feel pain all over, just like it was in Flanders. When the doctor came back after the scan, he said I was lucky."

Swiss team doctor Andreas Goesele likened the spill to being in a "car crash, with a whiplash injury." He also said that Cancellara would have to ride through pain because the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of prohibited substances limits what he can prescribe.

"The WADA list is very strict and we have to stick to it absolutely," Goesele said.

Cancellara said that he'd watched his crash "100 times."

Dutch rider Robert Gesink was starting the decisive move, and the rider known as "Spartacus" immediately went with him. Cancellara looked back to see who else was joining the attack, and "one little millisecond" was enough to lose control and slide through the corner, Cancellara said.

Eventual winner Alexander Vinokourov just missed him.

"Maybe everything turns out OK. The mental aspect is important," Cancellara said. "I have been training many, many hours for the Olympics. We will just have to see how it goes."

Cancellara wasn't the only defending time trial gold medallist to crash over the weekend.

Kristin Armstrong of the United States took a tumble near Box Hill during the rain-soaked women's race on Sunday. The former world champion managed to get back on her bike and finish in the main group, but was banged up after the race.

USA Cycling spokesperson Andrea Smith said Armstrong would be fine for the time trial.

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