Vincenzo Nibali has been awarded the prestigious Giglio d'Oro award in Tuscany, in recognition of his successful 2012 season in which he won Tirreno-Adriatico, finished second at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and ended up third in the Tour de France.
The 28-year-old from Sicily has emerged as the best Italian rider of his generation and confirmed he will target the Giro d'Italia in 2013 before possibly riding the Vuelta a Espana to prepare for the world championship in Florence. Victories in a Classic and at the Worlds are his major goals.
"I'm honoured to win the Giglio d'Oro for a second time because I lived in Tuscany for 10 years and feel at home here," Nibali told Cyclingnews during the award ceremony.
"I've won the Vuelta, and the Giro will be a big goal next year but I also hope to win a Classic. I was close last year at Milan-San Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. I'd love to win Liege next year or maybe the Amstel Gold Race or the Tour of Lombardy. 2013 will be important for me, and I'm already back on the bike to get ready for my debut with Astana at the Tour of San Luis in Argentina."
Nibali attended the award ceremony but avoided the pasta and wild boar lunch to go training. He revealed that he used his return to Tuscany to study the Florence world championship course.
"I knew most of the route, but went to ride it the other day. The main climb is tough, it's four kilometres long. The Worlds is a long race and there are a lot of laps to cover, so it's going to be a selective race," Nibali told Cyclingnews.
"There's a also a fast descent and then a final one-kilometre climb that kicks up at 15 percent. There's no comparison to this year's course. It's a lot harder and the climb is a lot different to the Cauberg climb we covered this year."
Other award winners included Italian national champion Franco Pellizotti and Moreno Moser, who was voted the revelation of 2012 after winning the Tour of Poland and the Trofeo Laigueglia. His uncle Francesco Moser collected his award, while fellow former Paris-Roubaix winner Andrea Tafi collected an award for his nephew Umberto Orsini, who was crowned as the most successful Italian junior rider after winning the Italian national road title.
UCI WorldTour winner Joaquim Rodriguez won the International award in memory of Franco Ballerini, with the Consul of Spain collecting the award for the Katusha team leader.