Nibali: I'm not worried about what other riders do

Vincenzo Nibali's paternity leave has come to an end and the Astana team leader is back racing as he gradually prepares to take on Chris Froome at the Tour de France.

Nibali's wife Rachele gave birth to Emma on February 28, with the 2013 Giro d’Italia winner was present at the birth after returning home from the Tour of Oman and a get-together of the Italian national team. Despite some sleepless nights at home in Lugano, Nibali travelled to Tuscany for today's GP di Camaiore to line-up alongside his younger brother Antonio before heading to France for Paris-Nice.

Both the Nibali brothers left the family home in Messina, Sicily to race in Tuscany as juniors. Antonio is only 21 and is riding for the Marchiol Emisfero Continental team.

"It's hard to leave home and your newly-born daughter to go to a race but I wanted to ride the GP di Camaiore for lot of reasons," Nibali told Cyclingnews and Gazzetta dello Sport before the start of the race.

"I've won in it the past and it's the very first race that I'm able to ride with my brother Antonio. My parents are also here after being in Lugano to see the baby. It's special for them to see their sons racing together.

“It's also nice that we're racing together in Tuscany, where we both began our careers as juniors after leaving home."

Nibali talked emotionally about his newly-born daughter, even if the birth had affected his training and his sleep.

"It's been a busy few days, it hasn't been easy but becoming a father is an immense feeling of joy and happiness," Nibali said.

"I was at the birth. It was a lot harder for my wife than for me but it was a special moment and fortunately both of them are fine. Emma weighed 3.35kg and was 50.5cm long, that's pretty big.

"The birth has meant I haven't been able to train consistently well but that's natural. My form’s not great but riding the Tour of Oman was important and helped me a lot. Now I've got to watch my weight and gradually build my form for April. It's important for me to peak for the Ardennes, for the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège."

Not avoiding Froome

Nibali dominated Tirreno-Adriatico in 2013, winning 'the race of the two seas' for a second consecutive season after defeating Chris Froome (Team Sky) with an audacious attack in the rain.

Much to the ire of Tirreno-Adriatico organiser RCS Sport, Nibali and his Astana team has opted to ride Paris-Nice this time around. It means Nibali will also avoid facing Froome and other Tour de France rivals such as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

"It was a logical choice to ride Paris-Nice. There was no polemic with the organisers," Nibali insisted.

"I've ridden Tirreno-Adriatico for the last few years but this year I'm targeting the Tour de France and so it makes sense to get a taste of the French roads before July.

“I'm not avoiding Froome. If I was worried about Froome and people comparing me with him, I wouldn't have ridden the Tour of Oman. I'm not worried about what other riders do and the races they ride. I know what I've got to do to be at my best for July.

"The fact that Froome won Oman and I was a bit off the pace doesn't worry me. I've seen how he's going and how he's been training. That motivates me but I won't be getting stressed out about trying to match him. I'll do my own training, stay cool and be ready for the big races, the races that really matter."

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