Vincenzo Nibali hopes to conclude the first part of his 2010 season with victory at the Italian national championships on Sunday. He will then take two weeks off the bike, miss the Tour de France and then target the Vuelta Espana in September.
The 25 year-old Sicilian is one of the favourites for the hilly 260km course near Treviso and is again training at altitude after winning the Tour of Slovenia at the weekend.
Nibali finished third in the Giro d'Italia, despite being called into the Liquigas-Doimo team at the last minute after Franco Pellizotti was pulled from the team because of his Biological Passport problems. He had originally planned to target the Tour de France this season after finishing seventh in 2009. However his change of programme means he will now take a break in July and target the Vuelta Espana and World Championships.
"I've managed to hold onto my form after the Giro d'Italia by mixing a few days at home, a few team meetings and some time at altitude at the Passo Sal Pellegrino. It's also thanks gaining experience and the confidence getting some big results gives you," Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I've got two weeks off after the Italian championships and then I star racing again at the Tour of Poland, then the Vuelta and then I hope the World Championships if I'm selected. I'll end the season at the Tour of Lombardy."
Nibali is not a good sprinter and knows he will have to go on the attack if he wants to take the Italian tricolore national champion's jersey.
"If I want to win, I've got to anticipate the sprinters, go on the attack, risk things and go for it. I've got to race instinctively but now I've got more confidence, I make less mistakes," he said.
"I think there are five favourites: Basso, who's the top of the class; Cunego, who will be good even if he's been quiet; Ricco, who was riding well in Slovenia, Visconti, who's always tough to beat and Carrara, who's on good form."