Vincenzo Nibali vented his frustration with Brad Wiggins today following his attack in the Tour de France’s 10th stage to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine.
“If he wants to be a great champion,” Nibali said, “he has to have a little bit of respect for his rivals.”
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Nibali spoke to a small group of journalists while sitting on the steps of Liquigas-Cannondale’s team bus. He talked about his solo attack in the 194.5km stage from Mâcon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine and Wiggins.
Nibali used his descending skills and shot free as Wiggins’ group sped into the valley and towards the final Col du Richemond climb. He said, “The idea was to throw Sky on the back foot and isolate Wiggins.”
Sky brought Nibali under control with only two kilometres left before the top of the Richemond’s pass. It continued to lead the group to the line, where it arrived 32 seconds behind Van den Broeck. According to Nibali, Wiggins taunted him at the finish. He turned, looked him in the face and waved as if to remind Nibali of his presence.
“If he wants to be a great champion he has to have a little bit of respect for his rivals, because sometimes, to look at someone like that in the face is offensive,” he explained.
“I’m not going to say cuss-words, but you need to have respect for your rivals. Today, as you know, they are going strongly, but the tables turn for everyone.
“I’m talking about respect amongst the cyclists. Riders have never kicked or punched each other as they do in football. There’s always just been a lot of respect for rivals. So, for me, there’s this respect. To turn and look a rival in the face, as he did, that’s not very great in my opinion.”
Nibali will have another chance to face Wiggins and Sky tomorrow when the race encounters its second of three summit finishes. He currently sits fourth overall, 16 seconds behind Sky’s Chris Froome, but he aims for a place on the podium in Paris.
“It’s different tomorrow, a mountaintop finish, but it’s not a very hard climb. It’s a short stage, though. The short stages sometimes are able to shake the GC even more,” Nibali said.
“You need to see what the GC guys are going to do, because if they are going to only attack solo, against Sky it’s hard. I’ve got courage, you guys. It’s the others that truly need to show that they have courage.”
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