Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) is looking to replicate his Giro d’Italia form at the Vuelta a España, which starts in Seville on Saturday. The Sicilian rider finished in third place in his home tour in May and has delivered some fine performances in the weeks leading up to the Spanish race.
“My prospects are good but I don’t want to burden myself with too much pressure,” Nibali said. “I’d like to repeat the experience of the Giro d’Italia: give my all, day after day, without making too many calculations.”
As well as finishing on the podium, Nibali also enjoyed a spell in the pink jersey and won a stage at the Giro. He had replaced Franco Pellizotti in the Liquigas-Doimo roster at short notice after Pellizotti’s biological passport reported abnormalities in his blood values. He had more time to plan for the Spanish tour.
“I’ve studied the Vuelta route on the map but I’ve never ridden it before, so I’m lacking that experience,” Nibali admitted. Nonetheless, the 25-year-old has been in fine form of late and has shown strongly in the August races in Italy. “My victory at the Trofeo Melinda was an important injection of confidence,” he said.
Roman Kreuziger will also be part of the Liquigas line-up at the Vuelta before leaving for Astana in 2011 and the Czech rider should find the climbing in Spain to his liking. “I’ll find out stage by stage what objectives to set for myself, but the desire to leave a mark on the race is strong,” he said. “The route is testing and for a climber like me it offers various chances to come to the fore.”
Fast men Daniele Bennati and Jacopo Guarnieri will offer the team an outlet in the sprints, while Mauro Finetto, Ivan Santaromita, Maciej Paterski, Frederik Willems and Oliver Zaugg will ride in support of Nibali’s red jersey challenge.