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 (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.
Giro d'Italia 2011: Latest news
Giro d'Italia News Shorts (May 24)
Controversial Crostis climb removed from Giro route
Sky leader Lofkvist loses more time at the Giro
Giro contenders struggle with Contador's dominance
Contador widens Giro advantage but Tour doping case waits
Porte reflects, one year after Giro success
Le Mevel goes on attack for Giro's pink jersey
Giro fines Contador for missing press conference
Cavendish responds to 'team car' accusations at Giro
Giro d'Italia News Shorts (May 15)
Giro's Sicilian cyclists proud to face Mount Etna
Contador surprises at Giro with attack ahead of mountains
Contador minds food at Giro as CAS decision nears
Weening supported by Rabobank and model Kroes
Local lad Appollonio bears fruit in Fiuggi
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
Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
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