Nibali looking to the likes of Joaquim Rodriguez, Ion Izaguirre and Giovanni Visconti in the new Bahrain-Merida squad
Vincenzo Nibali, the 2013 and 2016 Giro d’Italia winner, says that he will have a super-squad around him next year. The Sicilian is expected to line up again in 2017, the 100th edition, given the race’s visit to his hometown.
RCS Sport presented the 100th edition on Tuesday evening in Milan. It starts in Sardinia, visits Sicily and travels from the toe of the boot to the Alps in the north.
Nibali, who is leaving team Astana to lead Middle East team Bahrain-Merida, could bring heavy ammunition along for the three weeks, May 5 to 28.
“It’s going to be built for the need, if it is this Giro or any Grand Tour,” Nibali told Cycling Weekly after the presentation in Milan’s Ice Palace.
“I need to speak to the riders in the next days. We have Joaquím Rodríguez, Ion Izaguirre and Giovanni Visconti, riders I didn’t have this year. We can create a great group around me for the Giro.”
Nibali just arrived from the Abu Dhabi Tour where his Astana team-mate Tanel Kangert won the overall. He left the presentation for his home in Lugano, Switzerland, where he will hang up his Astana kit and pack his bag.
He leaves for Croatia one Wednesday to meet his new Bahrain-Merida team. The team is built around Nibali and is expected to give him an A-team like none other for the Giro.
He will need it given the Giro route presented for next year. It finishes up four climbs and includes high Alpine passes like Stelvio and Pordoi.
The first week, however, already presents several opportunities (or pitfalls), including a Mount Etna finish on stage four.
“It’s one where you need to arrive ready from the gun. It’s a truly hard and difficult Giro with many summit finishes,” Nibali said.
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“There are some big stages. Already with Etna, where we saw in 2011 that it’s a very demanding climb, even if it’s not the same side that Alberto Contador used to win. That year taught us how important the climb is.”
The 17.45-kilometre climb up Etna comes after a big start of three stages in Sardinia and a transfer/rest day to Sicily. On stage four, the race will reach 1,892 metres on the south side of the active volcano.
“Then Blockhaus, another important stage, the summit finish to Oropa… One after another,” Nibali added. “If a rider is not good then anything can happen. It’s hard, complicated and difficult in 2017.”
“I don’t know if I will yet,” Nibali added. “Clearly for me, this is a special Giro: the 100th edition and it visits, Sicily, my region. It’s very interesting. I like it.”