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Nibali: I wasn't 100 per cent, but it's January

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Vincenzo Nibali jokes around pre-stage

Vincenzo Nibali jokes around pre-stage (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida)

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) follow his teammates

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) follow his teammates (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali heads to the Bahrain-Merida team car post stage

Vincenzo Nibali heads to the Bahrain-Merida team car post stage (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), a winner of all three Grand Tours, is the star attraction at the Vuelta a San Juan, and although he vowed to try and win the race – especially when pressed by local media – it was always with the caveat that it’s only January and that laying the foundations for the Giro d’Italia was his principal aim.

And so it proved on the race’s decisive general classification stage, which finished at almost 2600 metres atop the Alto de Colorado, as the Italian ceded just over a minute to the top few riders.

Bauke Mollema, another of the favourites for the Giro in May, finished fifth on the day to take hold of the leader’s jersey, but Nibali wasn’t in the least bit concerned by his own progress.

 

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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.