Nibali could ride Flanders to prepare for the Tour de France

Vincenzo Nibali was not at the 2014 Tour de France presentation on Wednesday, preferring a cruise for cyclists organised by Gazzetta dello Sport to a day in Paris. However he no doubt liked the testing route, knowing that the limited amount of time trials and five mountain finishes will give him a chance to challenge Chris Froome for overall victory. Nibali finished third in the 2012 Tour de France, behind Bradley Wiggins and Froome.

The inclusion of a series of steep climbs, narrow roads and testing descents will also suit the Sicilian, with Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli revealing that Nibali could ride the Tour of Flanders to prepare for the cobbled stage.

"It's a good Tour for Vincenzo," Martinelli told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"There are stages with hard climbs that are largely unknown and its been years that the Tour hasn't done them all in the same edition of the race. It'll be important to know the roads but there's no point in going crazy with the reconnaissance. It's good for us that there's only 54km of time trialing because that's where we loose out to Froome a little bit."

Martinelli admitted that he is worried about the nine sections and 15.4km of cobbles on stage five in northern France. Nibali often targets the one-day Classics but not the cobbled Spring Classics. The Tour de France cobbles could mean he could includes the Tour of Flanders in his 2014 race programme, to get a taste of racing on the cobbles.

"The only bad thing about the Tour is the pave, even if we expected it," Martinelli said.

"The stage will make us consider a new strategy and different choices when it comes to our preparation. Training on the cobbles doesn’t make much sense because racing is so different to training. Paris-Roubaix is too extreme for Vincenzo but perhaps it's worth riding the Tour of Flanders."

"Vincenzo has to learn how to ride on those kind of roads. Because of the climbs in the Tour of Flanders, we could also bring home a good result."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.