Vincenzo Nibali has said that he is eager to start the new campaign on a sounder footing than he did 2014 and while the Tour de France is the centrepiece of his season, the Italian noted that the door is not yet fully closed on a return to the Giro d’Italia.
Nibali won the Giro in 2013 but skipped the corsa rosa this year in order to focus on the Tour. His Astana team has intimated that Fabio Aru will lead the line at the Giro in 2015 while Nibali again targets Tour victory.
“I’m determined not to repeat the mistakes of last winter, when for a number of reasons I wasn’t able to train as I should and I spent months catching up,” Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport. “It went well but that doesn’t mean that it’s a model to follow again. The door to the Giro isn’t completely closed yet even if the priority in 2015 will again be the Tour.
“Then there are the big classics, the monuments, which would make my career more completely. I have a few accounts to settle, because between Liege, Milan-San Remo and the Worlds, I’ve missed a few opportunities.”
Nibali’s Astana team had to wait until mid-December for confirmation of its WorldTour status following a sequence of positive tests and the Kazakh outfit must still undergo an audit in the early weeks of 2015. Despite the speculation over the team’s status, Nibali insisted that he was never concerned.
“I was always tranquillo, I said that many times. And in any case, I think the organisers of the big races wouldn’t have denied themselves of Vincenzo Nibali lightly. As for doping, I and we will be stricter. It’s the only road possible and it’s the one we’ll follow.”
Nibali was speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport after being named the Italian newspaper’s world athlete of the year. He succeeds Usain Bolt on the roll of honour and becomes only the third cyclist to win the award after the late Marco Pantani in 1998 and Lance Armstrong in 1999. He is also only the third Italian to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1978.
“It’s an immense pleasure and difficult to put into words,” Nibali said. “I’m entering into an exclusive club, not just of great sportsmen but of great men who did exceptional things. I’m proud of it.”