2014 Tour de France winner says he's been able have a more normal approach in the build-up to the Tour of Oman, but would still ideally have more racing in his legs

Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) arrived for the Tour of Oman at 7:30 local time on Monday slightly under-prepared.

“I tried to train well, but in the last days I had cold weather, rain, a little bit of snow [in Lugano], and I wasn’t able to train in the best way,” the Italian told Cycling Weekly.

“Others who have raced in Argentina, Australia or Qatar, they’ll have an advantage,” he added.

Nibali did not say, but the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) likely ordered first or business class tickets for his travel to the Sultanate of Oman. Alongside him, he had his wife Rachele and daughter Emma.

The six-day Tour of Oman is his second race of the year after starting in the four-day Dubai Tour.

The Sicilian, however, wanted to begin earlier in Argentina’s Tour de San Luis. Unlike last year, Astana did not include the race on his 2015 programme and despite getting the okay from Italian National Director Davide Cassani, Nibali was not able to join with Italy’s national team for San Luis.

“Cassani and the Italian federation asked, but we couldn’t find an agreement with the team camps,” Nibali said, “I couldn’t go.”

Nibali so far has raced 664km this year, but has said that he would have liked to be further along thanks to Argentina, where he raced in 2014 prior to going on and winning the Tour.

“Just for the experience I had last year [I wanted to return]. This year, I wanted to start off better and have more attention on the classics,” said Nibali.

“Clearly, if I could’ve ridden more kilometres than last year then that would’ve been good. I have only one race in my legs in respect to those who already raced in Argentina, Dubai and Qatar, this is only the second race of the year for me.”

However, his off-season was smoother than last season when he was expecting the birth of his daughter and adjusting to the cold Lugano winters. Nibali raced in Argentina, Dubai and Oman in 2014 before returning to welcome Emma. He left soon after for the GP Camaiore and Paris-Nice.

“Last year, I trained too little, but this year, I began as I ‘normally’ would,” he explained.

Nibali said that he arrived at the January training camp with zero kilometres in his legs in 2014, but this year he had a “little extra.”

Astana head coach, Paolo Slongo told Cycling Weekly in December that he wanted to adjust the schedule for his star cyclist. He will build him through Oman and Tirreno-Adriatico towards the Ardennes Classics. After a break, skipping the Tour de Romandie, Nibali will return for the Critérium du Dauphiné and, of course, the Tour de France.