Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) turned his 2015 season around on the lakeside in Como by winning Il Lombardia today. Nibali, 2014 Tour de France victor, attacked on the climb of Civiglio, soloed clear on the descent and held off his rivals by 21 seconds.
Spaniard Daniel Moreno (Katusha) placed second and Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was further back, at 32 seconds.
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Nibali, after a Vuelta a España disqualification and a Tour that nearly went off the rails, ended his season on a high note in one of the five one-day monuments
“It was clearly difficult ahead of the Tour de France for me,” Nibali said. “Maybe in the first week it didn’t work, and I tried to turn it around, which I think I did. The Vuelta DQ brought out anger in me, I was able to discharge that in these races.”
Nibali won a stage to the La Toussuire ski resort and placed fourth overall in the Tour de France behind Sky’s Chris Froome. There were many question marks over his early season, however, with zero wins and placings until the national championships.
At the Vuelta a España, the race jury kicked out the 2010 winner after holding on to his team car too long following a crash in stage two.
“For all cyclists, there are good and bad moments. It was a big mistake, but I wasn’t the only one. Anyway, it was a restarting point. It was good for me to be kicked out for me, it gave me a good kick.
“Sometimes it goes well, but sometimes poorly for you, with ‘grinta’ and my head, I was able to push ahead. With a race win like this you see one’s real character and what one is made of.”
Nibali is considered one of the four “bigs” in grand tours with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Froome.
However, out of the “bigs” he is the only one to have performed so well in monuments, and won one, today’s Il Lombardia along the sunny shores of Como.
Watch: Best of the 2015 Tour de France
He will attend the presentation of the 2016 Giro d’Italia tomorrow in Milan’s centre. He is expected to focus on it next year instead of the Tour de France.
Afterwards, all that remains of his 2016 season is the Abu Dhabi Tour.
“And what vote do I give it my season? It’s not for me to decide, but you, it’s like in school, where the instructors grade you.”