Vincenzo Nibali has refused to rule out going for a rare Giro-Tour double in 2015, and Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni is hoping an exciting race route with limited transfers will help convince the Sicilian to return to the Corsa Rosa next year.
Nibali dominated the 2013 Giro d'Italia, sealing victory in the snow at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo finish in the Dolomites. This year he opted to miss the Giro d'Italia and focus on the Tour de France, becoming the first Italian winner of the yellow jersey since the late Marco Pantani in 1998. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won this year's Giro d'Italia.
Vegni has revealed that the 2015 Giro d'Italia will start with a team time trial on a bike path along the San Remo coast, with two further stages in the Liguria region to Genoa and then La Spezia after climbing through the Cinque Terre coastal area.
Nibali's success at the Tour de France has been a lifeline for Italian cycling and RCS Sport would love him to return to the Giro d'Italia next year to give the race a further lift.
"It's too early so say if Nibali will ride but I really hope so. We've got an excellent relationship with Vincenzo, and before he set off for the Tour de France he told me he'd be back at the Giro d'Italia sooner or later," Vegni told Cyclingnews.
"I don’t want to put him under pressure to ride the Giro but I hope he can sit down with the Astana team and decide to ride the Giro."
In the 80s, charismatic Giro d'Italia race director Vittorio Torriani was never afraid to chop out mountain stages and add flat stages and time trials to favour national heroes Francesco Moser and Giuseppe Saronni. However, Vegni refuted any idea that the 2015 Giro d'Italia route could be tweaked to suit Nibali's riding characteristics.
"Unless we go far back in time, the Giro d'Italia has never made a race to suit a specific rider," Vegni claimed.
"However with the 2015 Giro starting in the north and then ending with the mountains, it's very difficult to see how the race can go all the way to Sicily if we want to avoid massive transfers."
Milan or Turin finish
The full route of the 2015 Giro d'Italia will be revealed on Monday October 6, the day after the end of season Il Lombardia Classic, also organised by RCS Sport.
The race route is expected to visit Southern Tuscany after the opening stages in Liguria, climb into the central Apennines and then head north for the decisive mountain stages. There will be few stages in the south and virtually no chance of a visit to Sicily for logistical reasons. The race could end in Milan to coincide with the Milan Expo or in Turin, which will be the European Capital of Sport in 2015.
RCS Sport has shaken up the race format for Grand Tour in recent years, with even the Tour de France now opting for a more original race route to inspire aggressive racing. Vegni has promised to continue in this direction in 2015, while also helping the riders by limiting transfers between stages.
"I think people have got bored with races where there's an early break, a chase, a catch in the finale and then an exciting final ten minutes. We can do better than that and that's what we're trying to do at the Giro d'Italia," Vegni claimed.
"I think we've always got try to give the fans what they want: exciting racing. We've got to entertain them if they're at the roadside or watch the race at home on the other side of the world. That's fundamental if we want to keep professional cycling alive."
"We've given a lot of attention to the time the riders have to recover from special efforts. In 2015 a lot of stages finish and then start the next day in the same place, reducing the transfers and so helping the riders to recover naturally. There will be less than 1000km of transfers during the race, including those on the rest days."