Vincenzo Nibali has made it clear he hopes to target the Giro d'Italia in 2016 and the Sicilian is ready to skip the Tour de France or ride in support of Astana teammate Fabio Aru so that he can be on form at the Rio Olympic road race.
Nibali ended a deeply troubled season on a high on Sunday by winning Il Lombardia with a audacious solo attack in the final 20km. Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Marcel Kittel, to Dumoulin, Michael Matthews and Peter Sagan all attended the presentation of the 2016 Giro d'Italia route in the Milan Expo but Nibali got the most attention from the media, the fans and race organiser, RCS Sport, who seem to have secured their first big contender for the 2016 race.
Nibali revealed he is ready to even miss the Tour de France so that he can target the Giro d'Italia and Rio Olympic road race in mid-August.
"Why not?" he said when asked about snubbing the sport's biggest race. "Or I could ride in support of Fabio Aru at the Tour. We've still got to share out the 2016 season but perhaps its time he got a taste of the Tour. I could target the Giro and then the Tour to get ready for the Olympics."
Nibali won the Giro d'Italia in 2013 before completing his set of Grand Tours in 2014 by winning the Tour de France. Like most Italian riders, Nibali knows the Tour de France is more prestigious but the Giro d'Italia has a special place in his heart. He dominated the 2013 race, securing victory by winning the mountain stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the snow.
"After two years away, I'm obviously thinking about the Giro d'Italia," he said. "The route for 2016 is nice and pretty cool. There are three time trials and so it's a difficult race from start to finish. It's tough but I like it.
"It suits a complete kind of rider because there's something of everything. There's a real time trial, a mountain time trial, big mountain stages and other tricky stages. Even the crosswinds in the opening days could be a risk like they were at the Tour de France."
Nibali will end his 2015 season at this week's Abu Dhabi Tour before taking a well-deserved break. Last winter he spent a lot of time in the spotlight, making television appearances in Italy and attending award dinners and other events. He has already made it clear he will not make the same mistake this winter. He will switch off completely, enjoy a holiday with his wife and young daughter before training in the winter.
"I learn things every year and I know that after every season you start all over again, from scratch," he explained. "You've got to know how to start all over again every season, no matter what you achieved. Last year after the Tour I took part in a lot of events that took a lot of time and energy. I started the season badly and I can't make the same mistake."
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