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Tirreno-Adriatico: Nibali plays down role of favourite

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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Estaban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) at Tirreno-Adriatico

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Estaban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) at Tirreno-Adriatico
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) takes centre stage on the final podium

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) takes centre stage on the final podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium and the BMC Racing Team, Race leader Bob Jungels of Luxembourg and Etixx-Quick Step and Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and the Astana Pro Team

Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium and the BMC Racing Team, Race leader Bob Jungels of Luxembourg and Etixx-Quick Step and Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and the Astana Pro Team
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is arguably the favourite for this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico but with the Italian also targeting this year’s Giro d’Italia and in the final year of his Astana contract, the Sicilian is always asked about a wide range of subjects when he faces the media.

On the eve of the opening 22km team time trial in Lido di Camaiore, Nibali was cautious about his chances in the pre-race press conference and tried to play down expectation that he can win for a third time after victories in 2012 and 2013.

“It’s true I’ve won Tirreno-Adriatico and that I feel at home on Italian roads but there are lots of other strong teams here who will be contenders and put up a fight,” he pointed out when he spoke in more details with a huddle of journalists present at the race.

“We’re all friends and we all say hello to events like the pre-race press conference but then when the flag drops the racing starts. This year Movistar have got Valverde, Katusha has Rodriguez and the route definitely suits him. Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) is a new entry in the lot of contenders but I noticed at the GP Larciano at the weekend that he stayed hidden despite looking really good.”

Nibali and his Astana teammates went training on the TTT course on both Monday and Tuesday despite poor weather conditions in Tuscany. They will have the advantage of starting last in the team time trial and so will know any time gaps on their rivals. That could be the difference between winning and losing.