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News shorts: Nibali's Tour de France numbers, Kittel struggling to handle non-selection

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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) takes his second national road title in two years

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) takes his second national road title in two years (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giant-Alpecin's Marcel Kittel meets with members of the media Thursday during a team training camp in the Sierra Nevadas.

Giant-Alpecin's Marcel Kittel meets with members of the media Thursday during a team training camp in the Sierra Nevadas. (Image credit: Alberto Brevers)
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Aliaksandr Kuschynski (Katusha) at the start in Roeselare.

Aliaksandr Kuschynski (Katusha) at the start in Roeselare. (Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at the finish

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at the finish (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gianni Moscon (Italy)

Gianni Moscon (Italy) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Slongo reveals Nibali’s Tour de France numbers

Vincenzo Nibali’s coach is confident the Italian rider is on track to be competitive at the Tour de France and so have a chance of taking a rare back to back second victory.

Nibali had failed to win a race this season until taking the Italian national title in Turin on Saturday. He had spent the week before the race at a special Astana training camp in the Italian Dolomites, working on his speed and race fitness with Slongo and several key teammates.

“We’re ready,” Slongo told Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday. “Nibali and the other riders polished their form at the camp at altitude at Passo San Pellegrino. We did a specific tough ride twice, covering 4000m of climbing in 160km that included the Sella, Campolongo, Valparola, Pordoi and then back up San Pellegrino. The riders did the valley roads behind my scooter and did intervals on the climbs, some of which were 30 minutes long just below threshold. Others efforts were 20 minutes long with the final 5-6 minutes over threshold.”

Slongo also revealed Nibali’s key numbers on the eve of the Tour de France.

“He’s at 64kg with about 5.8-6% of body fat. He’s at about the same point where he was last year. Of course in the race it will all depend on what is rivals do too.”

Gianni Moscon won the under-23 Italian national title on Sunday, all but securing a contract with Team Sky for 2016, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 21-year-old from Livo in the Trentino region attacked alone on the hilly circuit near Arezzo in Tuscany to take his seventh win of the 2015 season. He finished second in this year’s under-23 Tour of Flanders and was fifth in the recent three-day Peace Race.

Moscon apparently visited Team Sky during the rest day of the Giro d’Italia in Madonna di Campiglio and is set to attend a Team Sky training camp in Sestriere between July 10-21.

Kittel still coming to terms with missing the Tour

Marcel Kittel is still having trouble with the decision by Giant-Alpecin not to take him to the Tour de France. He rode grimly to the start of the German national road race, which he eventually abandoned. “I am still very disappointed,” he said, according to the DPA news agency.

On Saturday, Kittel, his manager Jörg Werner and team manager Iwan Spekenbrink held a four-hour discussion. While no results were announced, the statements afterwards were far from positive. There was no agreement amongst the parties, Werner said. There is no thought of an early contract termination “right now”, he said, “We don’t want to go that far at this time” -- giving the impression that it remains a possibility.

Kittel suffered from a virus infection, which held him out of racing virtually the entire spring. He abandoned his first race back on the first stage, and showing promise only in the one-day race Rund um Köln, where he won the field sprint.

Belarusian champion sacked for winning

Generally riders and teams will part way if one of the parties isn’t performing. However, newly crowned Belarusian champion Andrei Krasilnikau (Minsk Cycling Club) found himself in the unusual position of being fired from his team for winning the race. According to the rider, his team boss Aliaksandr Kuchynski – who is also his teammate – was displeased that the 26-year-old hadn’t allowed him to win.

“After my win, my bike was taken away by my teammate- boss Aliaksand Kychynski. He isn't happy,that didn't win,” Krasilnikau posted on Twitter, followed by, “Any team can hire me from now? @ProCyclingStats retweet pls #cycling #notfair.”

Krasilnikau joined the Continental Minsk Cycling Club at the start of this season as did, former WorldTour rider, Kychynski. The 35-year-old has ridden with Liquigas and Katusha during his career, completing a total of nine Grand Tours and is a three-time former national champion.

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