Nibali bids farewell to Astana: 'Even though we will be rivals there remains a special bond'

Italian thanks team in Facebook video

After four years with the Astana organisation that saw him take three Grand Tour wins, Vincenzo Nibali is headed to Bahrain-Merida next season. In a video posted to the Astana Facebook page Tuesday, the 32-year-old Italian bid farewell to the team and recalled his tenure there.

"Among the best memories: The yellow jersey in the 2014 Tour de France, won already in the first stages and brought up in Paris on the Champs-Élysées with the great work of everyone," he said.

"It's a memory that remains indelible in my mind and in that of the many people who contributed to this great success."

In addition to winning the Tour while wearing Astana's distinctive light blue, Nibali also nabbed two Giro d'Italia wins (in 2013 and 2016) as well as the 2015 Tour of Lombardy riding for the Kazakhstan-registered WorldTour squad.

He thanked the sponsors, general manager Alexandre Vinokourov, and the team staff in the video, while noting the continued connection he'll share with the team even as he moves on to a new organisation.

"I wish the Astana pro Team a good season in 2017," he said. "Even though we will be rivals there remains a special bond."

Nibali will captain Bahrain-Merida's Giro team next year as he looks to defend his title and nab a third career victory in the race.

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