Nibali continues preparation for world championships

Since winning the Tour de France at the end of July, the only racing Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has done since is a series of criteriums.

The Italian is set to make his return to racing on the 16th of this month with three consecutive one-day races in Italy known as the Trittico Lombardo.

Nibali will appear at the Coppa Bernocchi, Coppa Agostoni and Tre Valli Varesine in preparation of the world championships in Ponferrada, Spain at the end this month where he will be the leader of the Italian team.

Nibali has been training with key-domestique Alessandro Vanotti and coach Paolo Slongo in Bergamo and recently tested his legs on the 7.5km, 7% climb to Roncola.

"We are normal, neither particularly good nor particularly bad," Slongo told La Gazzetta dello Sport of Nibali's current form and condition. "There needs to be consideration that Vincenzo has had several engagements after the Tour, including the trip to Kazakhstan, but he has certainly not stopped riding."

Slongo believes the Italian races will be important for assessing Nibali's chances of attaining the rainbow jersey that he came close to winning in Florence last year. A crash derailed Nibali's chances of victory last year but recovered enough to finish in fourth place.

"Clearly we now must intensify training because the Trittico Lombardo will be an important test and we can begin to understand something of what we will see from Nibali in Spain," Slongo added.

"This week I will probably join him in Switzerland to follow a couple of long workouts. We must be realistic and not think that Vincenzo may again be the  same as he was at the Tour. But we must prepared to the fullest."

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