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.
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“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.
“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.”