Vincenzo Nibali has begun riding on the rollers at home in the hope of racing before the end of the 2016 season.
The Italian had stitches removed from the wounds caused by surgery to his left collarbone and a recent check-up in Brescia has given him the green light to gradually increase his riding. According to his coach Paolo Slongo, Nibali has been training on the rollers at home for the last four days and hopes to race again before the end of his time with the Astana team. The Sicilian will lead the new Bahrain Merida team in 2017.
Nibali crashed on the final descent of the men's Olympic road race as he raced for a medal. He lost control at speed in a series of twisting curves and fractured his left collarbone in two places after hitting a roadside drainage channel. Colombia's Sergio Henao also went down in the crash, with Greg Van Avermaet going on to catch Rafal Majka of Poland to win the gold medal.
Nibali was flown home on the Italian prime minister's plane and underwent surgery in Brescia. One fracture was reduced with the insertion of a metal plate, while the second near his sternum, was left to heal naturally.
Nibali could potentially return to racing at the Tre Valle Varesine race in Varese on September 27, ride Il Lombardia on October 1 and end his season at the Abu Dhabi Tour (October 20-23). He won both Italian races last year but would be happy just to be on the start line.
"I'd like to race before the end of the season but naturally without any particular ambitions," Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Slongo is confident Nibali will soon start training on the road.
"He's healing up well. Everything is going as it should and if things continue like that Vincenzo will soon start to ride on the road too," Slongo told Tuttobiciweb.
"It will all depend on how he feels during those first training rides but we’ll carefully consider how to face the end of the season. I'll see him on Saturday and we'll talk about things."