'Chris Froome will be competitive but I feel confident': Nibali targets Tour of the Alps as he prepares for the Giro

The Italian is looking to build his form as he targets his third Giro title

Vincenzo Nibali at the Tirreno Adriatico (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is set to use the Tour of the Alps as a launch pad as he targets success in both Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro d'Italia, the latter being his main focus for 2019.

The Italian has just finished an altitude training camp at the Teide volcano in Tenerife, and whilst the work has been intense he still needs to find race rhythm. He will head to the Tour of the Alps next week before flying to Belgium for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, with Nibali saying these two races provide the perfect set up for his tilt at a third Giro title two weeks later.

"I really like the Tour of the Alps formula, made of short and demanding stages," Nibali said, "and that's the way Grand Tours also seem to be going. Tour of the Alps stages are usually contested at the beginning, providing a great spectacle for the audience and a challenge for the riders."

His main competition in the Alps will be the man who won the maglia rosa last year, Chris Froome. Between them, the two riders have 10 Grand Tour victories. However, it will be the four-time Tour de France champion's team mate, Egan Bernal, who will lead Team Ineos at the Giro, with Froome and Nibali instead battling it out across five alpine stages next week.

Vicenzo Nibali wins stage 19 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia (Photo by Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

"I think Chris Froome will be competitive. The Tour de France is still quite a long way, but we are talking about a champion. This will be my first race since Milan-San Remo and the altitude training: I am looking forward to test my feelings before the Giro."

As well as having two Giro wins to his name, Nibali has two Tour of the Alps wins, albeit when the race was called Giro del Trentino, before the rebrand in 2017, and the race is special to the Italian. "I feel related to this race, I won my first Giro del Trentino in 2008, repeating the success in 2013, the season of my first Giro d'Italia success. I still remember the emotions of the win in Folgaria, which I won ahead of Franco Pellizotti, who will be in my team car as sports director this time around."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.