The Sicilian will ride for Astana in 2013 after securing a huge contract with the Kazkahstani team to replace Alexandre Vinokourov. Nibali will be in Monaco on Sunday for Vinokourov’s farewell event.
“This team has been a huge part of my career and I’ll never forget the years we’ve spent together. I’ve grown and matured since 2006 and so has the team, and we’ve had achieved some very important results,” Nibali said in a statement from the team.
“It feels like I’m leaving a family, a unique group of people, not just collegues. I wish the team all the best for the future and as much success as we’ve achieved together in the last seven years.”
Nibali turned professional with Fassa Bortolo in 2005 but achieved his major results with Liquigas. He won the GP Ouest France-Plouay in 2006, finished seventh in the 2009 Tour de France and won the Vuelta a Espana in 2010. He was second in the 2011 Giro d’Italia and was third in this year’s Tour de France after trying to unsettle Bradley Wiggins several times in the mountains.
Nibali is expected to target the Giro d’Italia in 2013, where he could again clash with Wiggins.
The Giro dell’Emilia finishes with the San Luca climb overlooking Bologna after four other laps on the climb. Also in the Liquigas-Cannondale line-up are Ivan Basso, Damiano Caruso, Federico Canuti, Kristijan Koren, Josè Sarmiento, Alessandro Vanotti and Matthias Krizek.
Fabio Sabatini and Marco Benfatto will replace Nibali and Basso in the team for Sunday’s GP Beghelli race. It will be the last Italian race for the Liquigas-Cannondale team, which will be sponsored by in 2013 and lead by Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan.
Nibali will ride Vinokourov’s farewell event in Monaco on Sunday alongside Philippe Gilbert, Chris Froome, Joaquim Rodriguez, Roman Kreuziger, Maxim Iglinsky, Jan Ullrich, Richard Virenque and Eddy Merckx.