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Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale)
Italian to decide after Ardennes classics
Although provisionally set to ride the Tour de France in 2012, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) has admitted that he is tempted to line up at the Giro d’Italia as the route suits him better than it did last season.
His Liquigas co-leader Ivan Basso is already certain to take part in the Giro, while the team has intimated that a final decision on Nibali’s participation will be made after the Ardennes classics.
“If you ride the Giro, doing the Tour well isn’t possible,” Nibali told Biciciclismo. “I really like the Giro, it’s a race that has given me a lot and has a better route for me this year. I would like to ride it. Ivan will do the Giro and the Vuelta, I don’t think he will go to the Tour. But in any case, the season is long and the programme can change.”
After finishing on the podium at the Giro in each of the past two seasons, Nibali admitted that it would be difficult to forgo the opportunity of riding the race in 2012. However, he also believes that he is better suited to the long, steady climbs of the Tour de France than the steeper gradients of the Giro.
“For an Italian, the Giro is really beautiful. It’s hard to pass up on the Giro,” he acknowledged. “The Tour is a very important race and I haven’t ridden it since 2009. In fact, I prefer the route of the Tour because the climbs are longer but less steep, whereas at the Giro they’re shorter and more explosive. But the Giro is the Giro, and all that signifies…”
For now, Nibali is focused on the early part of the season, where he again aims to shine at Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Ardennes classics. “Tirreno and San Remo are goals. The last two years I’ve tried on the Poggio but it’s very difficult to get away alone, the route doesn’t suit me,” he said. “Even when Gilbert attacked last year, he couldn’t stop Goss from winning.”
Nibali is currently at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, where he is taking part in his first race of the season and looking to gauge his progress in the stage 4 time trial. “I need to improve in the time trial this year and I’ve worked on it a lot,” he said. “Even here in San Luis, I’ve got the new time trial bike, so it will be a good test.”