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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.