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Nibali to ride the Tour of Flanders

Stephen Farrand
January 11, 16:56,
March 18, 10:22
First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, January 12, 2014
Tour of Flanders
Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali

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Astana leader to taste the cobbles before the Tour de France

Vincenzo Nibali will get a taste of the cobbles in preparation this year's Tour de France by riding the Tour of Flanders, his Astana directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli has revealed.

Stage five of the Tour de France includes a total of 15.4km of cobbles divided in nine different sections. For any overall contender it will be vital not to lose time and Martinelli thinks Nibali could even gain time on Froome even if he has never raced on the cobbles.

"Nibali doesn't know what it's like to race on the cobbles but of all the big-name overall contenders, he's the one who can gain the most," Martinelli told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He's got better bike skills than Froome and Contador and so he's got to find out what it's like to fight for a place at the front, elbow to elbow with the riders who want to pass him on the cobbles, on the rough roads full of holes. He needs to get a taste of what it's like to hit the cobbles in the peloton and then ride at 50km/h strung out in a line. And the Tour of Flanders is perfect for that."

Martinelli claimed the 2013 Giro d'Italia winner was keen to test his bike skills on the cobbles, despite the risk of racing the Tour of Flanders along side the likes of Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan and Tom Boonen on April 6.

"He's keen to give it a try because he's never ridden on the pave," Martinelli said. "He'll have Dutchman Westra with him, who grew up riding the pave."

"Vinokourov asked me if riding the Tour of Flanders is a bit risky but I told him that riding Paris-Nice or Criterium is also risky. Vincenzo will ride the Flanders for the cobbles, not to win it. He'll ride Amstel for the same reason. He's always suffered on narrow roads. He won't ride Fleche-Wallonne but will ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege."

Martinelli revealed that the Astana team to support Nibali at the Tour de France has been virtually decided.

It will include Scarponi, Vanotti, Fuglsang, Kessiakoff, Kangert, Brajkovic, Westra and one of the Kazakh riders Grivko or Gruzdev," he concluded.

Starting in San Luis, lots of time on Mount Teide

Nibali traveled to Argentina on Saturday to prepare for his season debut at the Tour de San Luis next week. He will then ride the Dubai Tour in early February and the Tour of Oman. He is due to become a father in late February but also penciled in his race programme are Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo, Criterium International, the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Tour de Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphine.

His preparation for the Tour de France will also include intense periods of training at altitude on Mount Teide on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

"He'll go to Teide two days after Criterium, only come down for the Tour of Flanders and then return there until riding the Amstel Gold Race," Martinelli explained.

"That's 18 days at altitude, followed by almost a month between the end of May and the start of the Tour de France, with the Dauphine (June 8-15) in the middle. If the weather's good, some of that could be at the Passo San Pellegrino in the Dolomites, because both Nibali and coach Paolo Slongo know the area well."


Fernando Cintra 8 months ago
Forza Nibali!!!
hfer07 8 months ago
That's my man!!!
GuyIncognito 8 months ago
While I applaud this, I'm not going to celebrate just yet. Simply because I remember Valverde and both Schlecks saying the same in years past, then not showing up
Anonymous 8 months ago
Nibali gaining on Froome? Yes there is a lot of technique in to handling the cobbles but the difference between Nibali and Froome is not that big to make up for the difference in raw power of these two which is a big factor. You can't go fast on cobbles if you can turn big watts, that's why Cancellara is so good... Nibali will never be as fast as Froome in the flat, it doesn't matter if it's cobbles or not. And actually Froome already raced in the cobbles beore. So if anything he is at advantage.
Manuel Schoel 8 months ago
I think the best of all ppossible Top 10 contenders is Kwiatkowski. He could gain the most out of this stage. He was able to follow Cancelaara on some of the hardest sections in the Tour of Flanders. Well, he came in 40th at the end, but still he had his promissing moments.
Cance > TheRest 8 months ago
If you count ASchleck as a top 10 contender, which I honestly do, he would be the best GC rider on cobbles, but sure Kwiatkowski could be good too even though he hasn't proven too much (Have no idea what you are talking about in regard to flanders, since Cance turned the big gear on the Quaremont, where only Sagan could follow). Nibali should get some advantage over a guy like Froome, who is hardly a hardman. Contador, usually not a hardman, actually did good in 2010, so he should be alright compared to Froome here.
Nicolaj221 8 months ago
You know that Andy really doesn't like the cobbles, right?
paddyscullion 8 months ago
He gained a load of time on the 2010 cobbled stage
blemcooper 8 months ago
Yeah, after Frank crashed and held up the rest of the peloton while Andy and Cancellara rode away.
Manuel Schoel 8 months ago
"GHENT, Belgium (VN) — Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) continues to impress. At just 22 years old, following up on a breakthrough ride at Tirreno-Adriatico, the Pole escaped for 100km at the Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) blew apart the Ronde on the Oude Kwaremont and quickly reeled in the day’s escapees. Kwiatkowski, after a long day on the front, briefly stuck with the stars before sitting up and ending the race 40th." - from velonews.
Cance > TheRest 8 months ago
Oh my bad yes, he was in a breakaway and got dropped pretty fast after Cance and Sagan reached him. Still not many GC riders are good enough cobbles riders to even be in a breakaway, so you have a point.
Dwight Yorke 8 months ago
I'm a little concerned that Martinelli thinks Grivko is a Kazakh...
Cance > TheRest 8 months ago
He confused Ukraine and Kazakhstan by the colours lol
GuyIncognito 8 months ago
I'm a little concerned that neither he nor you know the difference between Kazakh and Kazakhstani Gruzdev is a Kazakhstani. Saying he's Kazakh (or calling Astana a kazakh team) is like saying Zabriskie or Garmin are Apache because they're american.
DAVE P 8 months ago
Vaughters is Sitting Bull & Brailsford is General Custer.
azureskies 8 months ago
Pretty smart of Nibali. Flanders and Amstel were TdF prep races for Armstrong, during Lances' heyday. Expect excellence and awesomeness from Vincenzo in the TdF 14.
Tony M 8 months ago
I dont see why Froome shouldn't be able to ride cobbles well.I always found riding rough roads or cobbles was helped by lower gears and a higher cadence and thats what Froome does well ,right !
Mark Schwitau 8 months ago
It's not just the surface, it's the narrowness, the pushing around and the elbows, the close fans, the mud and the decision making necessary to survive.
Steveo 8 months ago
It's great that he's riding Flanders. The cobbles of Flanders are in better condition than those of Roubaix, so the chances of a season ending crash are reduced. I'm sure he's not thinking about a big result in the race, but riding the cobbles in a race situation can only help his feel for this type of terrain. Hope he doesn't end up walking on the Koppenberg though! As for a pure time trialist having an advantage, that's true to an extent, but experience on the pave is even more of an advantage. Look how many were chasing a lone Boonen in 2012 and couldn't make time on him. Tom isn't the fastest time trialist, although very good, but his classics experience and pure strength saw him win in style.