Vuelta a Espana: Vincenzo Nibali backed by youth and experience

Bahrain-Merida has named its final line-up for the Vuelta a Espana, with Vincenzo Nibali backed by an experienced team that includes Valerio Agnoli, Manuele Boaro, Franco Pellizotti, Giovanni Visconti and his younger brother, Antonio.

Nibali is targeting a second Vuelta a Espana victory after winning the Spanish Grand Tour in 2010 and finishing second in 2013. Nibali finished third behind Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) at the Giro d'Italia in May. He spent time training in the Dolomites in July and finished ninth overall at the Tour de Pologne on his return to racing.

Nibali will face Chris Froome (Team Sky), former teammate Fabio Aru (Astana), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and the Orica-Scott trio of Adam and Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves.

He can count on the Grand Tour experience of Agnoli, Pellizotti and Visconti, with Javier Moreno providing extensive knowledge of Spanish stage racing. Ivan Cortina, Antonio Nibali and Domen Novak will all be making their Grand Tour debuts due to the absence of Izagirre, Navardauskas and Sioutsou due to injury.

"I've worked hard and I'm ready for this latest challenge. The route is very demanding but I like it," Nibali said in a statement from Bahrain-Merida confirming its final nine-rider line-up.

"The competition is really strong and seeing the small time gaps of the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France you can not be distracted even for a moment. The many climbs and also the 40 kilometres of time trialing could be decisive."

Bahrain-Merida for the Vuelta a España: Valerio Agnoli, Manuele Boaro, Ivan Cortina, Javier Moreno, Antonio Nibali, Vincenzo Nibali, Domen Novak, Franco Pellizotti and Giovanni Visconti. 

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