Vincenzo Nibali has declared himself in top shape to target the victory at the upcoming Giro di Lombardia on Saturday, where he will be his team's leader. The "Classic of the falling leaves" being one of the monuments of cycling and an even more prestigious event in Italy, Nibali and the Liquigas team are highly motivated to take advantage of the rider's great form after his Vuelta a España victory.
"I'm in the very best condition, be it physically or mentally," Nibali said.
"Last Saturday, at the Giro dell' Emilia, I was still suffering from the trip back from Australia, and my legs felt a bit blocked. Now, I have fully recovered and I couldn't ask for more. I feel well, I'm ready and focused to fight from beginning to end. There's still a Classic missing on my palmarès: Saturday could be the right day."
The Italian, who put in a good attack at the Worlds but was caught before the last lap knows the competition on the tough course will be fierce. "It is an hard race that doesn't allow any mistakes," he continued. "We will face climbs that will test our legs, so you need to save forces and not waste them. There will be plenty of candidates for the win, from Gilbert to Kolobnev, from Evans to Schleck. I expect that many riders will be motivated to win, so I can't underestimate anyone."
Nibali will be supported by his team-mates Valerio Agnoli, Mauro Finetto, Ivan Santaromita, Sylwester Szmyd, Maciej Bodnar,Maciej Paterski as well as one of the 2010 season revelations Peter Sagan, who is not in top shape at the moment after suffering intenstinal problems during the last few days.
The team management have lined up a squad in full support of Nibali with the hope of seeing him take the last Classic of the year.
"It's a race that you can only win when you're in top form," said Liquigas directeur sportif Alberto Volpi. "The last 50 kilometres will be the hardest, with such challenging climbs as the Ghisallo and Sormano on top of the lakeside road which is anything but simple. Nibali will be at the start line in great shape and motivated, so the squad will be racing to help him win."