Nibali likely to skip Tour de France and ride Vuelta a Espana

Following his podium finish at the Giro d'Italia, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is unlikely to follow in the footsteps of the man that finished one step ahead of him, Nairo Quintana, and head to the Tour de France. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Nibali's coach Paolo Slongo and his agent Alex Carrera confirmed that the Italian's calendar has him focused on the Vuelta a España as his next major target.

Nibali has left the door open, however, and when pressed on it directly himself, he would only say: "Now, I'm resting."

After a tricky start to the Giro, Nibali mounted a comeback in the final week, with victory on the queen stage from Rovetta to Bormio. He came close to overhauling his rivals, but fell short by 40 seconds after the final time trial. He finished third overall, behind Quintana and overall winner Tom Dumoulin, but insisted he had no regrets.

While Nibali chose to focus on the 100th edition of the Giro, the Bahrain-Merida team lined up Ion Izaguirre as their headliner for the Tour de France. The Spaniard won a stage at the 2016 Tour but, despite a strong string of results in week-long stage races, is untested when it comes to a GC bid over three weeks. Sonny Colbrelli would provide an option for stage victories in the sprints.

At the Vuelta a Espana, Nibali would still face some stiff competition, with Dumoulin also expected to ride, along with his former teammate Fabio Aru and three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome. Nibali has done the Giro-Vuelta double on three occasions, finishing 3rd and 1st at the respective races in 2010, 2nd and 7th in 2011, and 1st and 2nd in 2013. 

Nibali might be in rest mode at the moment, but he still has a few post-Giro d'Italia commitments. The first of those was an appearance at the Cycling Stars Criterium in Montebelluna. Sprint rivals Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) were also in action, as were Nibali's teammates Franco Pellizotti and Manuele Boaro. Former riders Alessandro Ballan, Paolo Bettini and Matteo Tosatto were crowd favourites, too.

After 40 laps of action, the result was perhaps unsurprising, with Nibali soloing to victory. Behind him, Greipel edged out Gaviria to take second place.

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