Ballerini picks youngster for Giro
The wet day in Tuscany was decided when Nibali attacked on the climb of Scopetone, nearly 15 kilometres to go. He was joined by José Serpa (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia) while behind teammates Andrea Noè and Franco Pellizotti stood guard. On the decent into Arezzo Nibali dropped his companion and soloed home for the final 10 kilometres. Rolling in 15 seconds later were Matteo Priamo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Daniele Pietropolli (Tenax-Menikini) and Pellizotti, who finished second to teammate Nibali the day before.
It was a strong sign of form the third-year pro, who will make his debut in the Giro d'Italia next week. Italian National DS Franco Ballerini witnessed the performance and liked what he saw.
"Nibali did a champion's number," commented Ballerini to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The DS has seen Nibali make his rise in Tuscany, where the young rider has made his base.
"He knows how to ride a time trial, to go on the flats and he goes strong in the climbs, plus he is endowed with good recuperation. There is still a lot to uncover but I see him as being a protagonist in stage races."
Nibali will make his debut in the Corsa Rosa when it starts this Saturday, from Sardegna. "This will be his first Giro d'Italia and it is appropriate that he goes to help Danilo Di Luca. Experience teaches us that the road has a true hierarchy.
"This Giro, with out [Ivan] Basso, will be determined by less predictable strategies." Ballerini then gave a history lesson. "I remember the 1965 Tour de France when an unknown Felice Gimondi took part. In Paris he was in the Maillot Jaune. Why dismiss the hypothesis that Nibali is able to be one of the revelations of this Giro?"
Nibali, fresh off of two wins in two days, appreciated the encouragement of the Tuscan but indicated his alliances with Di Luca. "There are still a lot of things I have to learn from the champions. At the Giro I will give myself to the team," said Nibali. He added, "My form is amazing right now."