Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) enjoyed a solid return to competitive action when he placed fourth on the opening day of the Giro della Toscana after joining the winning break in the final 25 kilometres.
Nibali had not raced since finishing second at the Vuelta a España after injuring his ribs in a crash on the penultimate stage to the Angliru. The Sicilian opted to skip the World Championships and is instead targeting victory at Il Lombardia on October 7.
"In my first race back, I felt very good straightaway," Nibali said, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The climb that I used to attack on was short, but I set the pace right from the bottom. There was no problem with the rib, the bruising is going."
Nibali was part of a high-quality break in the company of Steve Cummings (Dimension Data), Egan Bernal (Androni) and Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), and he had to settle for fourth place in the sprint in Pontedera, which was won by Cummings.
"We agreed to work together, and we built up a good advantage," Nibali said. "In the sprint, I took Stephen's wheel, because I knew he was the favourite, but he was much faster. I'm happy that he won, though, he's a good friend."
The Giro della Toscana concludes on Wednesday with an uphill finish at Volterra.
Kennaugh targets Tour spot with Bora, set to race Down Under
Pete Kennaugh says he is likely to race the Tour Down Under as part of his 2018 race programme and that he is aiming to return to the Tour de France in 2018.
The British rider leaves Team Sky at the end of this season after riding with them since turning professional in 2010. Next year he will link up with Peter Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe squad after signing a two-year deal.
"I can't wait for next year now. I think I'm starting at Down Under and we'll take it from there. I've got the London Six Day with Cavendish in a few weeks. I want to go in there with reasonable shape. You don't want to be suffering like a dog there. So I'll probably take it easy for a week and then hit the turbo I guess," Kennaugh said after the Worlds road race in Bergen.
"I can't wait to get on with it now. Flying the nest. I was a bit nervous and anxious at first but after speaking with a few of the riders and sporting directors, and staff at Bora, I feel really comfortable with the decision."
Kennaugh's full schedule is yet to be confirmed: "I know I'm starting in Australia. I guess we'll talk about it in December. Hopefully I'll be back for the Tour."
Arredondo to return to Colombia, leaves Nippo-Vini Fantini
Nippo-Vini Fantini manager Francesco Pelosi has confirmed a number of contract extensions for the 2018 season, but one rider missing from the list is Julian Arredondo. The Colombian will stay in his home country for the foreseeable after suffering from homesickness and injury.
Arredondo joined the Italian squad this season after three seasons with the Trek-Segafredo squad. He had hoped to ride the Giro d'Italia in May, but the team was not awarded a wildcard. However, he has not actually raced since March when he abandoned the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali on stage one. Arredondo has been dealing with various injuries including a hip problem that prevented him from applying power in his right leg and resulted in him competing in only 45 race days in 2016.
"He missed home so much, especially after so many complicated years," Pelosi told Cyclingpro.net. "He wanted to return to Colombia, where he is still recovering and is chasing this pain he always has. It is too bad, because it would be a beautiful story to tell in a different way. He is still a rider who we value so much and he has great qualities, but often, in addition to athletic qualities, it requires determination and the ability to make sacrifices."
Pelosi did confirm that he had retained Damiano Cunego for his final season as a professional, along with Eduard Grosu, Marco Canola, Ivan Santaromita and Alan Marangoni. They have also signed the Cima brothers, Damiano and Imerio.
The three-Peter special: Sagan wins Worlds - Podcast
The latest episode of the Cyclingnews podcast takes a look back at the World Championships and Peter Sagan's record-breaking third straight victory in the men's road race. Sagan edged out home favourite Alexander Kristoff in a head-to-head sprint, with Michael Matthews rounding out the top three..
During the episode, we hear from Sagan, Kristoff, Matthews, and Greg van Avermaet, and the team picks out some of their favourite moments from the eight days of racing.
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