Vincenzo Nibali has praised Nairo Quintana for attempting the Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double but confirmed he has no concrete plans to do the same in 2017. The Italian remains focused on winning a third Giro d'Italia in May and will only confirm his goals for later in the season after the Corsa Rosa.
"Nothing is impossible but it's a very tough goal," Nibali said of the Giro-Tour double when speaking to Cyclingnews after the Vuelta a San Juan press conference.
"Nairo's going to be an extra rival for what's going to be a great Giro. He has to be admired for deciding to target the Giro d'Italia and then riding the Tour de France. I've done the Giro-Tour double in the past but it's very difficult to do because you've got to programme the season very carefully. It's not easy to be at your very best for both races, there's only a month between the Giro and Tour, so it's not easy to recover and be strong again so soon."
Nibali rode the Giro-Tour double in 2016. He won the Giro d'Italia but then specifically targeted stage victories in the Tour de France while supporting Fabio Aru. He used the French stage race to prepare for the tough Olympics in Rio, but then crashed out of the Olympic road race on the final descent and fractured his collarbone. He won the 2014 Tour de France after building his season around the French Grand Tour and missing the Giro d'Italia. Quintana won his first Giro d'Italia in the same year, avoiding a clash with Nibali.
"I kept training when I did [the double] but it's difficult and it all depends on how you feel. After the Giro last year I kept training and felt good. I had great numbers in training but then in the first week of the Tour I suffered. You can never compare training to racing," Nibali explained.
"I've spoken to other big-name riders like Contador and he told me that you need to do the right kind of training, nothing too aggressive, between the two races. It'll be interesting to see how Quintana does things."
Not tempted by the Tour de France
New Bahrain-Merida staff member Joaquim Rodriguez has suggested Nibali should ride the Giro-Vuelta double in 2017 but Nibali has avoided revealing if he will make the three-week Spain Grand Tour the major goal of the second part of his season. It is a possibility because Nibali seems unlikely to ride the Tour de France.
"I could perhaps think about it. For sure if the Giro goes well, I could do it because the first part of the season was a success but it's unlikely," Nibali said of the Tour de France.
Nibali is keen to test his form in the Vuelta a San Juan. He prefers to race in warm conditions, and so would rather race in the Argentinean summer than train in the cold of his European base in Lugano, Switzerland.
"It's the first race of the year, so I don't know exactly how my condition is. I hope it is good," he said during the press conference.
"For sure here is very warm and the weather will be a important variable. My goal is try to win a stage and, why not, the general classification. The most important stages are the individual time trial and the uphill finish. There you can get advantage and try to control it until the last stage."