Vincenzo Nibali

>>>Vincenzo Nibali results and rider profile

Nationality: Italian
Date of birth: November 14, 1984
Height: 179cm
Weight: 61kg
Team: Bahrain-Merida
Twitter: @vincenzonibali

Vincenzo Nibali is the current saving grace of Italian cycling. In a period when the country is short on winning riders, Nibali has delivered them Grand Tour wins as well as exciting racing and has victories in the 2014 Tour de France, 2013 and 2016 Giro d’Italia and 2010 Vuelta a España.

Nibali is often touted as a traditional rider in a modern era and is known for his descending skills. However, his 2014 Tour win was partly a result of painstaking work based on his power output and that of his rivals, masterminded by his coach Paolo Slongo.

Having won the 2013 Giro, the Italian took the brave move to skip his home tour in 2014 in favour for another assault on the Tour de France. It was a move that proved hugely successful. An opportunistic win on stage two in to Sheffield was followed by a sublime ride over the cobbles to set up a dominant three week performance. As his rivals fell by the wayside, Nibali grew stronger, dominating in the mountains and not showing a weakness.

Nibali had a busy winter after his 2014 Tour victory, and started the 2015 season slowly in comparison to the previous year. He was off the pace of his key rivals Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana throughout the 2015 Tour and finished in fourth place behind Froome, despite winning a stage in the Alps. Nibali himself said during the race: “I don’t even seem like the brother of Nibali from last year. I don’t know the problem”.

Nibali’s 2015 season then went from bad to worse, as he was disqualified from the Vuelta a España for holding on to a team car. However, a late-season surge in form saw him claim Il Lombardia after a masterclass show of decending skills, his biggest one-day race win to date.

2016 looked to get off to a better start for the Italian champion, as he took overall victory with an impressive climbing display at the Tour of Oman. But again, Nibali looked off the pace in the build-up to the Giro d’Italia in the Tirreno-Adriatico and Giro del Trentino.

Things didn’t seem to get much better once the Giro started either, with Nibali struggling to hold on to the likes of Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) in the Dolomite mountain stages.

But you can never write him off. In the final two huge mountain stages, Nibali began his comeback from over four minutes down on Kruijswijk.

28 May 2016 99th Giro d'Italia Stage 20 : Guillestre - Sant'Anna di Vinadio NIBALI Vincenzo (ITA) Astana, at Colle della Lombarda CHAVES Johan Esteban (COL) Orica - GreenEDGE, Maglia Rosa Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA

28 May 2016, 99th Giro d’Italia, Stage 20, NIBALI Vincenzo (ITA) Astana, Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA

The Dutchman crashed on the Colle Dell’Agnello descent, but the Sicilian showed he was stronger than the rest as he rode away from Chaves and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to take the stage win atop the climb to Risoul.

That moved him into second place, 44 seconds behind Colombia Chaves going into the final mountain day.

As Chaves struggled on stage 20, Nibali and his Astana teammates played the tactics perfectly to aid his attack on the penultimate climb of Colle della Lombarda, leaving Chaves behind to take his second Giro victory.

That was to be his final assault on a Giro overall with Astana, as Nibali now leads the new Bahrain Cycling Team in 2017.

Major results: 2016 Giro d’Italia | 2015 Il Lombardia | 2014 Tour de France | 2013 Giro d’Italia | 2010 Vuelta a España