Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) says he was missing the legs after having a tough day out on the first mountain stage at the Tour de San Luis. As the attacks began to fly off the front on the Cerro del Amago, the Italian could be seen dropping backwards out of the peloton.
He would eventually roll in 5:37 down on the eventual winner Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo Vital Concept), and lost half that on the other main contenders Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo). The Astana rider looked unperturbed by the time loss as he sipped his recovery drink in the back of the team’s bus, saying that he made the decision not to try and stay with the main group.
“The sensations in my legs were not good so I decided to take the climb at my own pace and not go too deep,” Nibali said after the stage finished.
Nibali, who is targeting the Giro d’Italia this season, was one of the pre-race favourites and had looked strong when he went on the attack on the Mirador del Potrero during stage 3. However, he is all but out of contention for the victory with only one major mountain stage to Filo de la Sierra de Comechingones on Saturday. The Italian has been in a relaxed mood during the race, taking part in an open and frank roundtable interview with the press earlier in the week where he criticised his teammates at last year’s Tour de France.
Nibali also played a joke earlier in the day with his former Liquigas teammate Peter Sagan when he handed the World Champion a gift of a razor, referencing the attention that Sagan got for riding the Tour de San Luis with unshaven legs.