Italian Giro d'Italia hope Vincenzo Nibali says he's looking ahead to the final week of the race after losing time in the mountain time trial

Vincenzo Nibali‘s Giro d’Italia appeared to derail along with his chain in the 15th stage of the three-week race today. Team Astana’s Italian star said that he just has to accept the results as they are after the mountain time trial up the Alpe di Siusi.

He lost 30 seconds over the first half to race leader Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and even more, 1-40, in the second half when he derailed his chain from the outer chainring. Under the sun-soaked Dolomites, he slipped 2-10 behind and dropped to third overall, 2-51 behind Kruijswijk.

>>> Five talking points from Giro d’Italia stage 15

Nibali normally speaks immediately after a stage finish on the road. This time, he went to his anti-doping control first and rode to the Astana car afterwards. After some prodding, the normally talkative Sicilian began to open up.

UKCE sportive ad banner

“It went how it went, it’s OK,” Nibali said. “I can’t say much, I don’t know. It’s fine.

“I don’t know [what this means for the Giro overall]. Today, I paid, yesterday, it was Alejandro Valverde. Maybe the day after the rest day, Kruijswijk could pay. Now, I don’t know.

Vincenzo Nibali on stage 15 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Vincenzo Nibali on stage 15 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

“You have to accept the results when they are like this. It’s normal to be a bit nervous at the finish, after the race. It’s not that one has the desire or the words to explain. It’s normal, you have to accept these results.”

The results shake cycling’s hierarchy as no one expected before the Giro d’Italia began two weeks ago in Apeldoorn. Nibali, winner of all three Grand Tours, began as the top favourite ahead of Mikel Landa (Sky) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

>>> Giro d’Italia 2016: Latest news, reports and info

Valverde lost time yesterday and Landa packed his bags on Tuesday to head home to Spain with stomach problems. Nibali appeared even more the favourite with fresh faced cyclists like Dutchman Kruijswijk and Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), at 2-51 in third place, for competition.

Nibali, however, lost 43 seconds yesterday in Corvara and another 2-10 today. The Dolomites damaged his changes to win a second Giro title after his 2013 win.

“There’s a good gap, but it’s fine how it is.”

Watch: Giro d’Italia mountain time trial bikes

Italians refer to Nibali as ‘The Shark’ and the fans alongside the Dolomite road appeared desperate to see him attack. At times, some appeared dangerously close.

“I’m happy with that because I was also a big fan, so it’s always a pleasure to see them,” Nibali added. “They always want to see a win, they hope, but we are only humans, so there are moments when it all doesn’t go very well. We are people, we suffer, that’s it.”

The team manager, Giuseppe Martinelli drove Nibali to the team’s hotel for tonight and the rest day tomorrow. Perhaps a bad sign for Italy’s champion, Astana is staying in Hotel Hell. The team said that the owner gave his hotel his surname.

  • danox82

    Sorry as I didn’t provide justification for my comment about him being overrated.

    In my opinion his GT wins have come against riders of lesser pedigree or as in the case of the TdF in 2014, his main rivals in Froome and Contador abandoned the race early on. He’s obviously one of the best GC riders in the peloton, but whenever I have seen him come up against his other main GC rivals (Froome, Contador and Quintana) he hasn’t impressed me. They always seem to have the better of him…and quite comfortably too in a lot of races. That’s mainly why I think he’s overrated.

    Sure he was favourite in this race, but he hasn’t shown any real form prior to this race (Giro del Trentino) and I just don’t see him switching it on in the last week of the race…unless something spectacular happens to either Chaves or Kruijswijk.

  • Simon E

    He doesn’t run away with the race so he’s overrated? That doesn’t add up.

    Have you checked his palmares? Yes he was the favourite but not in this decade that does not mean you are a nailed-on winner for a Grand tour.

    It isn’t over until they stop pedalling in Turin next weekend and an awful lot can happen between now and then.

  • danox82

    what race have you been watching then? An inform Nibali would have imposed himself earlier in this race if he had the form and wouldn’t be nearly 3 minutes down on GC. Even without his mechanical in yesterdays ITT he would still have lost a large chunk of time on Kruijswijk and Chaves

  • llos25

    I should put “IMO” because you seem to be watching a different race .

  • danox82

    Nibali has shown that he hasn’t had the legs on him all race (and in the Giro del Trentino prior to this race). I know he’s trying to remain positive, but the only way he can win this race is if either of Chaves or Kruijswijk experience a mechanical at a key point or crash out in one of the remaining stages.

    I’ve always felt Nibali is overrated and he’s not shown anything to make me think otherwise.