Vincenzo Nibali: 'I'm in better form than last year, but Nairo Quintana is still the Giro d'Italia favourite'

Defending champion says he's not the favourite for the Giro, despite being in better form than last year.

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Defending Giro d'Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) has said that he is in better form than last year ahead of the 100th edition of the race, but still tips Nairo Quintana (Movistar) as the favourite.

Speaking ahead of the start of the race today, Nibali said that he went into last year's Giro with fatigue his legs as he beat Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) to win, and was looking forward to starting in better condition this year.

>>> Google plays tribute to the Giro d'Italia, but doesn't seem quite sure what it is

"I feel similar to last year, but slightly better," Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport (opens in new tab).

"Last year I had Trentino and Liège in my legs, but I felt blocked, like a stalled car. The numbers were there, but something was wrong. Now I feel agile and free."

Watch: Giro d'Italia 2017 preview: stages one to nine

However despite feeling in better shape than last year, Nibali still believes that Quintana will be the man to beat in the mountains over the next three weeks.

"He [Quintana] is one of the strongest climbers. He is the favourite and the man to beat, but maybe at some point he will have a weak point.

"But I do not only have to watch. It will be unpredictable with Thomas, Dumoulin, Mollema, Kruijswijk, Yates, Pinot Van Garderen..."

>>> Giro d'Italia 2017 route: maps and elevation for every stage

Nibali goes into the race with the bookies seeing him as a second favourite behind Quintana, having won the Tour of Croatia in late April.

Stage one of the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia runs from Alghero to Olbia, with a bunch sprint expected to decide the destination of the first pink jersey.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.