From Tuesday, June 12 until Saturday, June 23, Liquigas-Cannondale is holding a last pre-Tour de France training camp on the Passo San Pellegrino, including Vincenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso. Nibali, the designated leader for the upcoming grand tour, will use the camp to get his form up to the desired level following a Critérium du Dauphiné in which his performances were somewhat limited compared to his rivals for July.
The Italian was on the attack on the final day after having losing more than nine minutes on Saturday's queen stage, which involved the HC climb Col de Joux-Plane. "It was a question of pride, and most of all, I wanted to see how I'd feel," he told Gazzetta dello Sport, explaining his moved that was ultimately doomed. "In the stage of the Joux Plane I had a bad day. But I'm not hiding the fact that I'm looking for better form, and for that the efforts made in the race will serve me well. I was looking for answers and I got some.
"There were riders who were doing well, but I think that many were worse than I was," he added, possibly alluding to Andy Schleck's recent form. The RadioShack-Nissan is arguably in even worse form just three weeks prior to the Tour, where Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Cadel Evans (BMC) now look to be the top favourites.
But Nibali remains confident that he can catch up on his delay during the training camp and by competing in the Italian road race championships on June 23. On Passo San Pellegrino, "I have to do some specific mountain training, especially on the long ascents that last more than one hour."
The 2010 Vuelta a Espana winner and two-time Giro d'Italia podium finisher will be back at the French grand tour for the first time since he finished seventh overall in 2009. As for his view on the favourites for the yellow jersey, he thought that "the only ones that have shown to have something extra are Wiggins and Evans. Still, the Tour isn't won at the Dauphiné."