Vincenzo Nibali to race Tour of Almaty in Kazakhstan this weekend

Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali ended his season in Spain’s wet northwest on Sunday racing the World Championship road race. He will push on to compete one more race in his sponsor’s country, the Tour of Almaty in Kazakhstan, but officially, he considers 2014 over.

“My season ends here,” team Astana’s Italian said. “I’ll go to Almaty only because my team asked me to do so.”

The 1.1-ranked Tour of Almaty this coming Sunday will celebrate its second year with the Tour de France winner. Last year, Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) won ahead of Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF).

Due to his travel plans, Nibali would not have been able to race the Giro del Lombardia on Sunday. The Tour of Almaty also forces him to miss the 2015 Giro d’Italia presentation on Monday, October 6.

Nibali, with grime from the 254.8-kilometre Worlds covering his body, appeared ready to end his season. He won four stages and Tour’s general classification but travelled often for sponsor events afterwards and crashed twice.

He raced criteriums, but only in five official races heading to the Worlds. He crashed on his left side in the Tre Valli Varesine on September 18 and again on the same side 60 kilometres into the Worlds. That side was already sore with delicate skin due to previous crashes in the 2013 Giro d’Italia and Lombardia.

“I couldn’t avoid crashing, the others fell in front of me. All and all, I didn’t come off too badly, but I had to change my bike twice afterwards. That wasn’t easy on such a fast race,” Nibali said.

“Michal Kwiatkowski pulled off a good move with his attack on the descent. I would’ve liked to have done the same thing but I was shaken after the crash and didn’t feel that comfortable on my bike. Honestly, I was afraid I’d crash again.”

Nibali switched his efforts to helping Italian team-mate Colbrelli, who placed sixth in the bunch sprint behind Norway’s Alexander Kristoff. Nibali closed his season with 40th place behind winner Kwiatkowski.