Tour de France champion will pick a 'warm' race to ready himself for the 2015 season. Photo by Luca Bettini
“I raced in Dubai this year, and I liked it,” team Astana’s Italian told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper at the route presentation. “I’d like to make the same steps into 2015 to be in the best condition for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo.”
The race runs from February 4 to 7, includes a mountain-top finish and omits 2014’s time trial stage. Instead of beginning in the dusty UAE cityscape, however, Nibali could begin his season with an Argentine steak at the Tour of San Luis, January 19 to 25.
“I’d like to begin 2015 in Argentina, in San Luis,” Nibali said two weeks ago. “It’s hard to see team Astana racing, but I know that the Italian national team will be there. If [Team Director Davide] Cassani asks me to go, I’d not only be available, I’d be happy. If not Argentina, then I’ll start in Dubai.”
He told Cycling Weekly in January that he prefers to race in warm climates in the early months than to stay at his home in Lugano, Switzerland, where bad weather can hamper his training.
“I’m more relaxed when I’m at the races, I don’t have obligations. I just have to race along,” Nibali said. “If I put in good miles then it’s OK if I have to miss some training when I get home.”
Nibali has begun his season in San Luis five times, including the last three seasons. In other years, he has begun at home, in Spain or in South Africa.
In 2014, he went from San Luis to Dubai to Oman before returning to race in Europe. He placed 21st in Paris-Nice, fifth in the Tour de Romandie and seventh in the Critérium du Dauphiné stage races before winning the Tour de France overall in July.
The Sicilian, who turns 30 on Friday, could follow the same menu for 2015, but can only confirm his plans after team Astana meets for a training camp in Tuscany later in November.
“The Giro d’Italia? I’ll decide with the team at the first camp in November, but you must not forget that we have Fabio Aru in team Astana, and he deserves his space. And I’ll have the Tour to think about. It covers a route where I’d like to try to repeat my win.”