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Vincenzo Nibali attends the Giro d'Italia presentation
New Italian star confident about handling the many climbs
Thanks to winning the Vuelta a Espana and riding so well at this year's Giro d'Italia, Vincenzo Nibali is already considered the next Italian great stage rider and already being considered the big favourite for the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
In the absence of Ivan Basso, Nibali stole the spotlight at the presentation in Turin and was not afraid to say he will be riding the 2011 Giro with the aim of winning it.
This year he finished third overall after helping Basso win. The two are expected to switch roles in 2011, with Basso working for Nibali and saving his best form for the Tour de France. Basso has already hinted he will target the Tour de France, while Nibali revealed he will only make a decision about also riding the Tour after the Giro d'Italia.
"After finishing third in the Giro and then winning the Vuelta, I think I can legitimately aim for victory in a grand tour," Nibali said after posing for photographs in front of the big map of the 2011 Giro route.
"I'll almost certainly be the team leader but that will only be totally clear at the end of the race. We'll see what happens out on the road but on paper it's almost a perfect route for me."
"It's a tough Giro with a lot of hard stages but I proved at the Vuelta that I can handle the climbs. I know some of them already but there are a lot I don’t know and so will have to go and see them."
"There aren't really any stages that I'm worried about because I'm pretty good even on the dirt roads we'll face on the Colle delle Finestre. I don’t know the climb we'll face in the mountain time trial to Nevegal but people who know it say it's a great climb and suits me."
Nibali may have to ride defensively in the mountains if Riccardo Ricco is invited back to the Giro and goes on the attack on the steepest climbs. However Nibali knows he has the advantage of the final 32.8km time trial to Milan.
"The time trial is flat and fast and so suits me. It could be a way to perhaps finish of a great ride," he suggested.
"It could be important like it was this year in Verona, when I took third place on the final podium from Scarponi. Of course it all depends on what happens in the three weeks before it."