The 2014 champion says that his young teammate could make his mark on the Tour de France in the future

Defending Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali has ruled team-mate Fabio Aru out of contention for Astana’s Tour de France squad this year.

The 24-year-old briefly held the lead in the Giro d’Italia before falling back to finish second behind Alberto Contador.

And Nibali, who did not ride the Giro, said that the energy which his fellow Italian had expended in trying to hold off the seven-time Grand Tour winner meant that he would be out of condition for the Tour.

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“In the future, he could come to the Tour de France, but this year, it’s not a good idea,” he told a press conference at the Critérium du Dauphiné, reports Cyclingnews.

“He spent a lot of energy at the Giro and the level here is so high at the Tour. If he were to do the Tour he would need a different preparation, but it could certainly happen next year.”

Nibali has had a quiet time of it so far in 2015, with his best GC result a tenth place in the Tour de Romandie.

He started last year in a similarly sluggish vein, though, before taking control of the Tour de France on its second day on his way to a comfortable overall victory.

Highlights from stage three of the Critérium du Dauphiné