Vincenzo Nibali talks about his incredible week at the Giro d'Italia

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) found himself in a different situation racing towards his fourth Grand Tour win. Instead of defending, the Sicilian had to attack for his Giro d’Italia victory in the French/Italian Alps.

Nibali dropped Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) by 1-36 minutes to take over the race lead after stage 20 in Sant’Anna di Vinadio, Italy. With only a flat stage to Turin tomorrow, he is set to win the 99th Giro d’Italia.

“In the past, I always had to defend the lead in the last stages, but here it was different, I had to attack in the last stages,” Nibali said to a crowded press room on top of the sun-drenched climb.

>>> Five talking points from stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia

“In 2013 when I won the overall, I had the lead from the start. This Giro was harder to manage. Everyone watched me from the beginning of the race. I tried to ride differently, and it wasn’t easy for me when I lost time. Then it switched for me, I thought, ‘I don’t care where I finish, I’m going to attack.'”

The race swung in Nibali’s favour on stage 19 when the Giro d’Italia entered into France over the Colle dell’Agnello. He attacked with Chaves and then race leader Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo). Kruijswijk lost control on the descent and crashed into a snow bank.

Nibali and Chaves rode free. Nibali won the stage to Risoul, where Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) took his 2014 Tour de France stage, with 53 seconds over Chaves.

Chaves took the leader’s pink jersey from Kruijswijk, but Nibali placed himself ready for the race’s final act.

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The 20th stage covered the Col de la Bonette and the Colle della Lombarda before the final small 2.35-kilometre kick to the finish line.

Nibali surged at 15 kilometres remaining to leave only Chaves and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), and moments later, he went free toward the top and border entering back into Italy.

The turn of events followed a horrible run through Italy’s eastern Alps. Nibali lost 43 seconds, 2-10 and 1-47 in three consecutive stages. Kruijswijk’s hefty three-minute lead over Chaves left many insiders to believe that Nibali had little chance of resurrecting his 2016 Giro.

>>> Esteban Chaves: ‘It’s only a bike race’

“That day in the mountain time trial was terrible, but inside, I knew that the last week would suit me,” Nibali said.

“Also, I had many friends in the group and they told me that in the last week, anything can happen. They told me not to get demoralised. In the end, in the last stages, it all went in my favour.”

  • Jay

    Really? You could be right thou, bikes are pretty sophisticated and high tech, especially the one he was using.

  • Stepho

    That’s easy, his DS…….

  • Steven

    a dead man till the last 3 days, each climb killed him and then he puts 5 min in the GC guys ! What ? Wasn’t that the Armstrong move to rise like a Phoenix after a nice blood transfusion ? I cant trust this dude, he killed my Giro. Nibali – whats wrong with you?

  • llos25

    You mean your favourite did not win somebody you dislike did that’s life .

  • llos25

    You talk in riddles you do not even understand how a bike works.

  • Jay

    Take it what you will. If your an avid cyclist you ought to know that for this sort of acceleration it’s natural to stand up in order to put the power down to be able to pull away 2 bike lengths in the space of a few seconds.

  • Jay

    If you saw the footage, I’m just as baffled how he could accelerate like that sitting down and created a 2-3 bike length gap in a couple of seconds. IMO, this sort of acceleration could only happen when you stand up powering away using your arms like a sprint.

  • ummm…

    change the force he applies to the peddles to match the cadence he needs to turn over the pedals at the new gear at the same rpm.

  • ummm…

    im not against believe you, but can you break down the reasoning?

  • Luke Mac

    Bollocks- he has to much riding on a result to allow it to go. New Oman prince team- multi million deal to lead it. it’s sickening. He was gone 3 days ago and now suddenly demolishing the field that have made him look ordinary. Bollocks. I was loving this Giro until the last couple of days, We all know how these things work- we’ve read the books and watched the documentaries- cycling is not going to move forwards until this kind of crap is eliminated from the sport.

  • Josh Tambini

    What absolute twaddle!

  • Roger

    How could he accelerate without changing gear or pedalling faster?

  • Jay

    That second acceleration where he left Chaves and Valverde just looks awfully suspicious. There was no change in cadence and it was very similar to the other two riders and you couldn’t spot him change gear. That sudden burst of power could only be so pronounce only if you quickly got out of the saddle, he couldn’t have done it sitting down IMO.