The Vuelta kicks off on Saturday with a team time trial. This year's race features 13 mountain stages, including 11 mountain top finishes. Amongst those is the Angliru on the penultimate stage, a fearsome climb with a gradient up to 23 percent.
"The Vuelta is a very difficult race this year. There are some really important stages, like l'Angliru, that will be decisive for the final classification, and a lot of riders up for the challenge," Nibali said in the team's press release that confirmed the nine riders that will line-up in Galicia on Saturday.
Nibali dominated the Giro d'Italia in March but has struggled to find his form after taking a long break from racing. He did not ride the Tour de France.
"One attack by Contador changed the results of the entire Vuelta last year. Stages like that are a little bit extraordinary, but they are extraordinarily difficult as well. They happen when everybody is looking for an advantage, and when a team is strong enough to go to the front and do something exceptional. I think we have a really strong team, and I think we are going to race extremely well at the Vuelta," Nibali said.
He will be supported by Paolo Tiralongo, Jakob Fuglsang, Janez Brajkovic, Andrei Grivko, Tanel Kangert, Andrey Zeits, Maxim Iglinskiy and Alessandro Vanotti.