Nibali suggested as much in October to La Gazzetta dello Sport, saying: "I’ve never done Paris-Roubaix, this could be the right time. Sure, it’s a risk, it’s a race that has to be prepared in fine detail, but you need to do it at least once in your life."
The 37-year-old is known for his exceptional bike-handling abilities and demonstrated his skills in the 2014 Tour de France when he excelled over some sectors of the Paris-Roubaix cobbles during a rainy stage from Ypres to Arenberg.
On the same stage, defending champion Chris Froome exited after several crashes and Nibali put more than two minutes into favourites like Alberto Contador, his largest time gains of the race that year. He went on to win the Tour by more than seven minutes over his closest competitors Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot.
This season, Nibali, back in Astana colours, will ride Paris-Roubaix in support of Gianni Moscon, who was leading an exceptionally muddy October edition of the race in 2021 until he first punctured and then crashed inside 25km to go. He was caught and left behind by eventual podium finishers Sonny Colbrelli, Florian Vermeersch and Mathieu van der Poel.
Nibali said it will be important to have support for Moscon in Paris-Roubaix.
He will also mark his return to the Tour of Flanders, which he has raced only once, coming in 24th place in 2018, as well as taking on the Italian Monuments: Milan-San Remo, which he won in 2018, Il Lombardia, where he won twice (2015 and 2017) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which he has raced 14 times and finished second in 2012.
Nibali's busy season begins with the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February, followed by Tirreno-Adriatico before his stretch of four Monuments begins. He will then race the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, before Il Lombardia in the late season.
The provisional schedule also sandwiches the Tour des Alpes in between Paris-Roubaix and Liège, with the race starting one day after the Hell of the North and finishing two days before la Doyenne.
During the Astana training camp in December, Nibali said he wanted to go to races without announcing his objectives beforehand. After two rather fruitless seasons with Trek-Segafredo, the 'Shark of Messina' still wants to win but acknowledged that since 2020, the level of the peloton has gone up to a startling degree.
"Of course, inside of me, I have objectives, races where I want to be a protagonist in some way," he said. "The competition has gone up to a really incredible level in the last two seasons, so it’s a lot more difficult, but I’m not lacking in determination."
Provisional 2022 schedule for Vincenzo Nibali
- Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
- Milan-San Remo
- Tour of Flanders
- Tour des Alpes
- Giro d'Italia
- Tour de France
- Il Lombardia
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.
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