Italian Vincenzo Nibali is rested and ready to face his next test in the Tour de France: the Alps. He passed the Tour's first rest day, on Monday, in tenth place overall after nine days of racing.
"There will be opportunities to attack and take time in the last week," Nibali, 24, told Cyclingnews. "It is hard to say which stage [in the Alps] will be the day. You just have to stay attentive and take your moment because in the mountains the team tactics go out the window."
Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) leads the race, but behind him are four Astana riders: Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden. Liquigas' Nibali is 1:54 back from Nocentini and 1:48 behind Contador.
"The only mistake I've made in these days is on the day to La Grande Motte. I was unable to follow the Armstrong group in the crosswinds.
"Realistically, I am racing for a high placing, not the win. I am tenth in classification, but I want to try to achieve a higher spot by Paris."
Nibali believes that Astana is racing well, but there will be a chance for him to advance past one or two of the Kazakh team's riders. He has mutual support from teammate's Franco Pellizotti, third at the Giro d'Italia, and Roman Kreuziger, currently 14th overall.
"My spot in the classification has given me and the team a good morale. In the next week, I am capable of doing some good things."
Nibali finished 18th overall in his debut Tour de France last year. He comes to this year's race with the confidence of a seventh place finish overall in June's Dauphiné Libéré stage race.