Spring Classics and California beckon for Italian
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) will turn his attention to the months of March and April for the Spring Classics followed by the Tour of California after capturing the overall title at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina on Sunday.
"In Italy it's very cold but I have been able to train very well in my region because the temperature is very OK, about 15 or 20 Celsius," said Nibali. "It is very important for training well especially before the Tour de San Luis race and also it was good training during the race. Now, I feel like I am in very good condition for the start of my season in Europe."
Nibali will target Italian stage race Tirreno-Adriatico followed by Milano-Sanremo in March before riding Amstel Gold Race, La Fleche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April. "Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the one Classic that I can do the best in," he explained. "I hope that one day I can win this race because it is the most beautiful race."
Following the Spring Classics, Nibali will skip the Giro d'Italia, travelling instead to the America's western seaboard to compete in the Tour of California between May 16-23.
"I was seventh in the Tour of California last year," Nibali continued. "I will not race the Giro because we will have Ivan Basso and Franco Pellizotti and with that team they can win the Giro d'Italia. I really like the Tour of California. I think it's a race that is very good and very important and a nice race so I am happy to be racing there again. Plus, surely Lance Armstrong will be there."
Nibali will target the Tour de France in the second half of the season where he aims to improve upon a seventh place performance in last year's Grand Tour.
"I believe that I am strong this year and that I have more experience," said Nibali. "Last year I was seventh in the Tour and I would like to do better on my result. I think that result was good but this year I want to at least do that again or better but it is difficult. I will race with Ivan [Basso], [Franco] Pellizotti and [Roman] Kreuzinger, there are four captains."
Nibali captured a hard-fought overall title at the fourth annual Tour de San Luis. He moved into the overall leader's jersey following his stage four win in the 19.5km time trial. He maintained a 28-second lead ahead of runner up Jose Serpa (Androni-Giocattoli) and 1:19 in front of Rafael Valls (Footon-Servetto) in third.
"The last day again, my team did truly great work," Nibali said. "I am very happy with this victory and so is our directeur sportif [Mario Scirea]. We kept the break away always at two-and-a-half minutes to be safe. The finish of the race today was very dangerous and I had to be very attentive with the turns and the downhill and all the riders who want a stage win. But, it worked out very well.
"This Tour de San Luis was very important for me, in this stage of the season," he added. "I'm very happy with Liquigas-Doimo who did some really great work this week and I hope to be on the way to a beautiful victory in Italy."
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