Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) stood side by side with Sky’s leaders on the Champs-Élysées yesterday, happy with what he accomplished in the 2012 Tour de France, but determined to improve.
“I came here with the goal of getting on the podium. I’ve got it, I’m truly happy,” Nibali said. “I also said that my goal was not to stop myself short, but to aim for higher.”
The 27-year-old became the first Italian to finish on the podium in seven years, since Ivan Basso placed second in 2005. It marked a steady progression for him after seventh in 2009. It also complemented his other Grand Tour results: third in the Giro d’Italia and first in the Vuelta a España in 2010.
To be fair, he was always going to have a hard time winning this year’s race given the 101.4km of time trials. He was, however, one of the most exciting riders to watch in the mountains with Belgian Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol). The two tried to attack and break the Sky stronghold, but slowly lost time on the road to Paris.
“It’s my style to try for more, more than third, but sometimes you have to just be content with what you have,” he added. “It’s good enough for now. In the future, maybe there will be the chance to improve on this great result.”
Nibali welcomed his girlfriend in Paris yesterday. The two moved to Lugano together from Tuscany over the winter so that she can continue her studies. He’s also changing teams next year and likely to join team Astana.
“I’m sorry to see him go, but we made our offer and it was surpassed,” Liquigas’ general manager, Roberto Amadio told Cycling Weekly. “We’ve had seven great years together and grew together. This podium place shows that we are able to help young riders grow and realise their dreams.”
Nibali placed third at 6-19 minutes back behind Bradley Wiggins. He was nearly three minutes off Chris Froome’s second place. He lost an additional two minutes to Froome on Saturday in Chartres.
He indicated that he might make subtle changes for next year.
“The best cyclists in the world are here, so to have this great result is important. It’s a big jump in quality,” Nibali said. “You can always improve. I’ve already improved a lot in the climbs, but to lose a little time in the time trial is normal. You gain a little here and lose a little there.”
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage 20: Wiggins wins 2012 Tour as Cavendish takes final stage
Stage 19: Wiggins wins time trial to claim Tour de France
Stage 18: Cavendish wins Tour stage 18 with irresistible sprint
Stage 17: Wiggins step closer to Paris as Valverde wins stage
Stage 16: Voeckler the Pyrenean king as he wins in Bagneres de Luchon
Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton
Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank’s Tour
Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage
Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last
Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back
Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour
Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT
Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks
Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
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