Nibali is part of the exclusive club of riders who have won all three Grand Tours and he has ten top three finishes in Grand Tours, confirming his consistency. However, he has proven time and time again that he is more than just a Grand Tour rider. He loves a hard race, which includes long climbs and technical descents. He enjoys targeting the hilly Classics as much as he does a Grand Tour.
In a time of hyper-specialisation and carefully chosen race programmes, Nibali stands out for the breadth of his talent and ambition.
Nibali has ridden Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Il Lombardia almost every season for the last decade. He has now won Il Lombardia twice but has also finished third in the 2012 edition of Milan-San Remo and second at the 2012 Liege-Bastogne-Liege after Maxim Iglinsky caught and passed him just a kilometre from the finish.
Nibali has won four Grand Tours: the Giro d'Italia in 2013 and 2016, the Tour de France in 2014 and the Vuelta a Espana in 2010. He won Il Lombardia in 2015 and 2017 and has also won 10 other one-day races, including the GP Plouay way back in 2006. He has won nine stage races, including Tirreno-Adriatico twice, plus two Italian national road race titles.
His race statistics also include 57 days in Grand Tour leader's jerseys, 12 Grand Tour stage wins and at least 70 days of racing per season for the last decade for a total of 150,000km of racing.
My dream? To win the Giro and Paris-Roubaix
La Gazzetta dello Sport recalled Nibali's first ever win at the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi & Bartali in 2006. He had already finished second to Chris Horner on a stage at the 2005 Tour de Suisse and took his first win with a solo attack in the pouring rain in Faenza. La Gazzetta describe him as a 'promessa del Sud', before he was nicknamed 'Lo Squalo dello Stretto di Messina'.
"I've always liked to go on the attack. My dream? To win the Giro and Paris-Roubaix," Nibali said at the time. He has since won the Giro d'Italia twice but has yet to ride Paris-Roubaix. However, he seemed at ease on the pave during the 2014 Tour de France when he finished third in Arenberg and defended his yellow jersey, while Chris Froome crashed several times and failed to finish the rain-soaked stage.
"I like a challenge, when I have to prove myself," Nibali said after winning Il Lombardia.
"The Classics are among the big challenges we can take on. I like to try to win them but it's never easy, you need perfect form and a perfect day.
"Riding the spring Classics is not easy for me, it's difficult for me to be at my best in the spring and for the rest of the season but I did it in 2012 when I missed the Giro to ride the Tour de France and that's when Iglinsky beat me. But I hope to try to do something in the Classics in 2018.
"Milan-San Remo is not a race for me now that the route doesn't include the Manie climb but Liege-Bastogne-Liege definitely is. It'd be great to be up against riders like Alaphilippe and others, going for it and trying to do something special."
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