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Nibali looks to attack Schleck for Tour's white jersey

By:
Gregor Brown
Published:
July 22, 2009, 12:31 BST,
Updated:
July 22, 2009, 13:43 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)

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Italian holds ground in important Alpine tests

Italian Vincenzo Nibali is moving closer to a Tour de France top-three finish and the lead of the best young rider classification. Nibali said on Tuesday that he wants to attack in the Tour's two final mountain stages to claim the white jersey.

"Andy [Schleck] has the white jersey and so I need to make sure to follow him. I will see if there is a chance to attack him and take the white jersey," said Nibali.

Team Saxo Bank's Schleck leads the young rider classification by 25 seconds over 24-year-old Nibali. He won the competition last year, Nibali finished third 17:01 back.

Nibali rode impressively in yesterday's stage over the Grand and Petit St-Bernard climbs. Schleck attacked twice on the second climb, the Petit-St-Bernard. He temporarily distanced Lance Armstrong, but failed to leave behind Nibali and race leader Alberto Contador.

Contador, the Tour winner in 2007, leads the overall classification by 1:37 over Astana teammate Armstrong. Schleck is fifth at 2:26 and Nibali is sixth at 2:51.

"[Alberto] Contador appears to be unbeatable," said Nibali. "Andy tried again, but Contador was right there with him the whole time. It will be difficult to drop him in the coming days."

Nibali faces three more days that are critical to the outcome of the race: Today's stage, Thursday's individual time trial and the stage to Mont Ventoux on Saturday. Today's stage to Le Grand-Bornand covers five category 1 and category two climbs over its 169.5 kilometres.

"It will be another difficult day. We will see what Saxo Bank invents.

"The podium is a dream for me, for sure, but I am going to keep my feet on the ground. It is going to be hard [today], with all the climbs, plus we just finished a hard stage."

Nibali finished 18th overall in his debut Tour de France last year. He finished seventh overall in June's Dauphiné Libéré stage race. During the Dauphiné he finished ninth on stage five, which, like the Tour's penultimate stage, finished at the summit of Mont Ventoux.
 

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