Nibali calls for swift Contador verdict

Sicilian remembers first visit to Etna

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) has called for a speedy resolution to the Alberto Contador affair. The Spanish rider returned an adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol at the Tour de France but a verdict has yet to be returned on his case.

“I only hope that the sporting justice system can operate more quickly,” Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport. “You can’t be stopped from riding for a year and then exonerated, thus paying a price for nothing, as happened to [Franco] Pellizotti.”

Nibali’s Liquigas teammate Pelizotti was sidelined in May after his UCI biological passport showed suspicious values, but he was recently cleared by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).

Regardless of whether Contador is cleared to ride next year’s Tour de France, Nibali is adamant that the centrepiece of his season will be an assault on the Giro d’Italia. The 2011 edition of the corsa rosa is particularly enticing to Nibali given that it will give him the chance to showcase his talent in front of his home support in Sicily.

“I’m aiming for the Giro,” he said. “There’ll be the Sicilian stage with the finish at Etna.”

Stage 9 of the Giro brings the gruppo from Messina to a finish on the slopes of Mount Etna and Nibali will be hoping to reach the top in significantly better shape than he did the first time he tackled the volcano over 15 years ago.

“When I was small I rode up Etna from the Linguaglossa side with my father and a big group of cyclo-tourists,” Nibali explained. “That time, since I didn’t have anything left, I arrived at the summit attached by a rope to the car that my mother was driving. But I was 10 years old…”

The Vuelta a España winner has been off the bike since the Tour of Lombardy two weeks ago and will spend the first part of November in Sicily. Nibali will begin his 2011 preparation in earnest at Liguigas’ first training camp from December 9-22 in Sardinia.

“For me, 2011 will be a new year. The odometer goes back to zero, as does the emotions-meter and the dreams-meter,” Nibali said. “As for cycling, I don’t know. I hope it will be a calm year.”

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