Nibali is the current Italian national champion and after a polemic in Italy about the limited nature of the red, white and green colours on his sky blue Astana jersey, he has insisted the 'tricolore' band goes all the way around his jersey, making it easier to spot him in the peloton. Nibali will wear the special jersey until the 2015 Italian national championships are held on a hilly course near Turin at the end of June.
The Astana team colours remain very similar to those of recent years but there are slight changes. The Astana logo is now horizontal across the chest, with a yellow collar and short trim, perhaps to celebrate Nibali's victory at the 2014 Tour de France. The word Kazakhstan fills the side panel of the jersey, instead of a sponsor logo, to remind everyone of the nation behind the team. The red Specialized logo stands out on the chest and the shorts. The Astana team came intense scrutiny at the end of 2014 after several doping cases in 2014. However the UCI decided to award the Kazhakstani a WorldTour licence.
While new signings Lars Boom and Dario Cataldo are already in action at the Tour Down Under, other new signings are training in Spain with Nibali and his young Italian understudy Fabio Aru. The Sardinian finished third overall at the Giro d'Italia and will lead the Astana team in the Corsa Rosa this year, while Nibali focuses on a second victory at the Tour de France.
Nibali's coach Paolo Slongo revealed to Gazzetta dello Sport that the Tour de France winner has done significantly more training so far this winter compared to a year ago.
“He started training on December 11 in 2013 but this year he started on December 2,” Slongo revealed.
Last December he did 1583km and 52 hours in the saddle. This year, he rode 2929km in December for a total of 99 hours. We're also working well this month. His aerobic base is definitely better.”
Nibali will make his racing debut at the Dubai Tour (February 4-7) after attending the official Astana team presentation in Dubai on February 1.