Nibali gives up hope for Giro d'Italia win

Vincenzo Nibali, Giro d'Italia 2011, stage 16

Vincenzo Nibali today admitted that Alberto Contador's advantage is too great, and that the best he could now hope for is the second step on the podium.

"Second? That's pretty much the goal," Nibali told journalists after losing yet more time to the Spaniard. "Michele Scarponi and I talked about that when we saw the time of Alberto today."

"If you take away AC, it would be a tight battle with Scarponi. There

have been surprises, too, like John Gadret. Also, Stefano Garzelli. The

Italians are doing well in this Giro, we don't need to be ashamed,"

Nibali said.

Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) finished second to Spain's Contador (Saxo Bank) today on the climb from Belluno up to the Nevegal ski resort. He recorded a time of 29-29 minutes in the individual time trial, but Contador finished with 28-55. 

Contador now leads with a 4-58 minute margin, while Scarponi is in second place and Nibali in third. Nibali twice finished ninth behind Contador at the Tour de France, but he wanted something better in this Giro d'Italia, he wanted to win.

"Five minutes, I can't remember when there was such a gap in the

classification, to beat it will be very difficult," Nibali added.

"Alberto has a huge advantage, there's nothing left to say."

Italian super team, Liquigas gave Nibali the leadership responsibilities for the Giro and asked Ivan Basso, last year's winner, to focus on the Tour de France. With Contador's near five-minute lead, though, Liquigas must revise its objectives.

Nibali's last chances will come with the mountaintop stages to Macugnaga on Friday and Sestriere on Saturday. The race ends in Milan with a 31.5-kilometre time trial on Sunday.

But the cloud hanging over this year's Giro is that second place may be good enough for the win in just a few weeks time.


tested positive for clenbuterol at last year's Tour de France, but

while Spain's cycling federation (RFEC) cleared him on February 15, the

Union Cycliste International (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency

(WADA) appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport


Last week CAS scheduled three days, June 6 to 8, for Contador's hearing - barely a week after the Giro ends. If it rules against Contador and imposes a suspension he may have all of his results from the 2010 Tour de France onwards stripped.

Contador maintains his innocence and claims the positive result came from eating a contaminated steak.

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Giro d'Italia 2011: Latest news

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Giro d'Italia News Shorts (May 15)

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Giro d'Italia News Shorts (May 12 edition)

Blythe finding way in second Grand Tour

Leopard-Trek withdraws from Giro d'Italia

Leopard-Trek uncertain to continue in Giro

Tuesday's Giro stage in memory of Weylandt

Giro doctor describes actions to save Weylandt

Wouter Weylandt killed in Giro crash

Giro news shorts (May 8)

Cavendish likely to take Giro lead tomorrow

Giro 2011: Who will win?

Giro d'Italia 2011: Stage reports

Stage 15: Nieve wins mountain marathon as Contador continues at the top

Stage 14: Anton conquers Zoncolan in shortened stage

Stage 13: Contador consolidates Giro overall as Rujano takes stage

Stage 12: Cavendish holds off Appollonio to take second victory

Stage 11: Gadret grabs dramatic stage win

Stage 10: Cavendish opens his Giro account

Stage nine: Contador storms Etna to take Giro lead

Stage eight: Gatto springs late attack to take win

Stage seven: Neo-pro De Clercq wins by a whisker

Stage six: Ventoso steals Giro stage six win

Stage five: Weening holds on to take stage and maglia rosa

Stage four: Tearful Farrar and Leopard-Trek lead riders across stage four finish line

Stage three: Vicioso victory overshadowed by Weylandt crash

Stage two: Petacchi wins as Cavendish takes lead

Stage one: HTC-Highroad wins Giro's opening team time trial

Giro d'Italia 2011: Photo galleries

Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson

Giro d'Italia 2011: Live text coverage

Giro d'Italia stage 16 live text updates

Giro d'Italia 2011 stage 13 live text updates

Giro d'Italia 2011 stage 11 live text updates

Giro d'Italia 2011 stage seven live text updates

Giro d'Italia 2011 stage five live text updates

Follow the 2011 Giro d'Italia live with Cycling Weekly

Giro d'Italia 2011: Start list

Giro d'Italia 2011: Start list

Giro d'Italia 2011: TV schedule

Giro d'Italia 2011: British Eurosport TV schedule

Related links

Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

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