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Vincenzo Nibali shows off his maillot jaune in Aalst
Sicilian claims he, Wiggins and Froome are the new faces of the Tour de France
Vincenzo Nibali was unable to attend the presentation of the Grande Partenza stages of the 2015 Giro d'Italia but hinted he may be at the start in Sanremo next May as he targets a rare Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double.
The Sicilian is expected to return to the Tour de France after winning for a first time this year but has not ruled out the idea of also lining up in Sanremo to target the maglia rosa. He won the Giro d'Italia in 2013 but opted to focus on the Tour de France this season.
The late Marco Pantani is the last rider to have won the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in the same season back in 1998. Only seven riders have completed the Giro-Tour double a total of 12 times. The exclusive club also includes Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Stephen Roche and Miguel Indurain.
"I have a very special bond with the Giro because it’s the race that launched my Grand Tour career. It's good the Giro starts is Sanremo. Perhaps there will be a stage in Sicily too…" Nibali said in a video message played during the Giro d'Italia presentation in Milan.
"We've still got to decide my program for next year but I'd love to return to the Giro d'Italia."
He went even further in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper, owned by RCS Media Group, that also owns the Giro d'Italia organizing company RCS Sport.
"There's nothing wrong with trying, but winning both races in the same year is very difficult, not even Contador has managed to do it," Nibali said from Belgium while riding a series of post-Tour criteriums.
"I care too much about the Giro to ride and make a fool of myself. We'll see: perhaps with a good training programme we can try."
Nothing to hide
During the interview with Corriere della Sera, Nibali replied to suggestions that he may not have won the Tour de France if Chris Froome and Alberto Contador had not crashed out.
"My answer is always the same: crashes are part of the game," he said, seemingly irritated by the question.
"I arrived in Leeds with great form and would have given anyone a tough time. And when Contador quit, he was already two minutes down. Perhaps one day people will get bored with the same replies and change their questions."
Asked if his Tour de France victory marked a turning point for his career and for cycling, Nibali was similarly blunt.
"Doping was part of this world, we know that. And questions about it don’t bother me: I care about replying properly because it's important to do so," he said.
"I've nothing to hide. Wiggins, Froome, and I are the new faces of the recent history of the Tour de France. Cycling is different now and I think I've shown that."
Nibali will continue to rider post-Tour criteriums for a week before returning to his adopted home in Tuscany on August 9 to celebrate with family, friends and his fan club. He is then expected take a break before preparing for the world road race championships in Spain.