Liège-Bastogne-Liège 'almost an obsession' for Nibali

Italian on his Classics ambitions

Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) still has designs on competing in the Spring Classics, and particularly to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he narrowly missed out on victory in 2012.

Nibali has won the overall titles at the Vuelta a España in 2010, Giro d'Italia in 2013 and the Tour de France in 2014, and while his Grand Tour ambitions remain intact, he is aiming to hit an early peak in late April for the Ardennes Classics.

“Above all I want to win the Giro again and I’d love to win another Tour de France too, and, eventually, a classic. I’ve dreamt about it for a long time. If I had the choice, it would be Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a very attractive race, especially because of the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, the Italian climb," Nibali told Beligum's Sport Magazine. "I’ve always been in form for Liège and my results have only progressed. Two years ago, I came within a hair of the win and since then it’s almost become an obsession."

Nibali finished second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2012, when he was caught and passed by his future Astana teammate Maxim Iglinskiy in the finale. Iglinskiy tested positive for EPO in August of this year but Nibali refused to link doping to his defeat at La Doyenne.

“I don’t want to think about that again, I want to look ahead,” Nibali said. “Ignlisnkiy is suspended now but that concerns current events, it’s nothing to do with two years ago. For me, it’s clear that he deserved the victory that day.”

In November, Nibali revealed that he will focus on winning a second yellow jersey at the Tour de France in 2015, but his spring will follow a familiar pattern, with Milan-San Remo and the Ardennes Classics on the agenda.

"Next season I will only do the Ardennes Classics - Amstel, Flèche Wallonne and Liège - and Milano-Sanremo. No Roubaix, but who knows in the future. I also like the Tour of Flanders.”

Nibali showed his strength on the Paris-Roubaix course during the cobbled stage 5 at the Tour in July where he placed third, behind stage winner Lars Boom and runner-up Jakob Fuglsang. Although he said he won't race in Paris-Roubaix next spring, he noted some of the main differences between the cobbled Tour stage and the Spring Classic.

"A cobbled stage in the Tour is very different from Paris-Roubaix," he said. "In the Tour, it was a stage of 150 kilometres. At Paris-Roubaix, it’s all on the day, there are more specialists, so it’s more difficult. And there are more cobbled sections. A race like that requires a specific preparation."

When asked if he thought he could win Paris-Roubaix at some point during his career, Nibali said. "I don’t know. I won't say yes or no."

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