Nibali aiming for top step of Tour podium in future

Vincenzo Nibali attacks, Tirreno-Adriatico 2012, stage six

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) stood side by side with Sky's leaders on the Champs-Élysées yesterday, happy with what he accomplished in the 2012 Tour de France, but determined to improve.

"I came here with the goal of getting on the podium. I've got it, I'm truly happy," Nibali said. "I also said that my goal was not to stop myself short, but to aim for higher."

The 27-year-old became the first Italian to finish on the podium in seven years, since Ivan Basso placed second in 2005. It marked a steady progression for him after seventh in 2009. It also complemented his other Grand Tour results: third in the Giro d'Italia and first in the Vuelta a España in 2010.

To be fair, he was always going to have a hard time winning this year's race given the 101.4km of time trials. He was, however, one of the most exciting riders to watch in the mountains with Belgian Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol). The two tried to attack and break the Sky stronghold, but slowly lost time on the road to Paris.

"It's my style to try for more, more than third, but sometimes you have to just be content with what you have," he added. "It's good enough for now. In the future, maybe there will be the chance to improve on this great result."

Nibali welcomed his girlfriend in Paris yesterday. The two moved to Lugano together from Tuscany over the winter so that she can continue her studies. He's also changing teams next year and likely to join team Astana.

"I'm sorry to see him go, but we made our offer and it was surpassed," Liquigas' general manager, Roberto Amadio told Cycling Weekly. "We've had seven great years together and grew together. This podium place shows that we are able to help young riders grow and realise their dreams."

Nibali placed third at 6-19 minutes back behind Bradley Wiggins. He was nearly three minutes off Chris Froome's second place. He lost an additional two minutes to Froome on Saturday in Chartres.

He indicated that he might make subtle changes for next year.

"The best cyclists in the world are here, so to have this great result is important. It's a big jump in quality," Nibali said. "You can always improve. I've already improved a lot in the climbs, but to lose a little time in the time trial is normal. You gain a little here and lose a little there."

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

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Hoy says a Wiggins win would be greatest ever British sporting achievement

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Froome: Nibali's attacks weren't going anywhere

Wiggins' Tour de France training

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Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list

Tour 2012: Who will win?

Tour de France 2012 start list and withdrawals

Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage 20: Wiggins wins 2012 Tour as Cavendish takes final stage

Stage 19: Wiggins wins time trial to claim Tour de France

Stage 18: Cavendish wins Tour stage 18 with irresistible sprint

Stage 17: Wiggins step closer to Paris as Valverde wins stage

Stage 16: Voeckler the Pyrenean king as he wins in Bagneres de Luchon

Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton

Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank's Tour

Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage

Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last

Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back

Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour

Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT

Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks

Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage

Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs

Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles

Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour's time trials

CW's Tour de France podcasts

Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs

Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries

Stage 20 by Graham Watson

Stage 19 by Graham Watson

Stage 18 by Graham Watson

Stage 17 by Graham Watson

Stage 16 by Graham Watson

Stage 15 by Graham Watson

Stage 14 by Graham Watson

Stage 13 by Graham Watson

Stage 12 by Graham Watson

Stage 11 by Graham Watson

Stage 10 by Graham Watson

Stage nine by Graham Watson

Stage eight by Graham Watson

Stage seven by Graham Watson

Stage six by Graham Watson

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Graham Watson

Stage three by Graham Watson

Stage two by Andy Jones

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones

Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler

Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2012: Team presentation

Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage

Stage 18 live coverage

Stage 17 live coverage

Stage 16 live coverage

Stage 12 live coverage

Stage 11 live coverage

Stage 10 live coverage

Stage nine live coverage

Stage six live coverage

Stage five live coverage

Stage four live coverage

Stage three live coverage

Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Brief history of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever


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