Nibali failed to impress at the Critérium du Dauphiné, but hopes to ride with more consistency at the 2018 Tour de France
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas won the Critérium du Dauphiné a week ago. Nibali attacked a couple of times, but failed to feature much as he builds toward the Tour de France. He placed 27th overall in the French stage race, 21-12 minutes behind Thomas.
“I suffered a lot in the Dauphiné, but thanks to my experience, I do not feel nervous when I think of the Tour de France,” Nibali told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.
“The Tour is won with consistency, you have to be on it for 20 stages out of 21. If I think about my performances in the 2017 Grand Tours, I got two beautiful podiums, that encourages me.”
Racing the first year with his new Bahrain-Merida team that he helped establish, he finished third in the Giro d’Italia behind winner Tom Dumoulin and second in the Vuelta a España behind Chris Froome.
Nibali is one of only seven cyclists in history to have won all three Grand Tours. He won the Vuelta a España in 2010, the Giro twice in 2013 and 2016 , and the Tour de France 2014. For 2018, he again is building his seasons around the French race.
“I am aiming for the podium, more thnt that I do not say because you know I am superstitious,” continued the Sicilian.
“It’s clear that the top step is the best. There will be serious opponents, you will have to keep your feet on the ground and fight every day.”
The 33-year-old has had one of his best years so far despite suffering in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He took a surprise solo victory in Milan-San Remo with an attack on the Poggio. He then went to Flanders and attacked again. He faded, but his move was the launch pad for Niki Terpstra’s solo win.
Out of the Grand Tour stars, he is the only one who can also play for wins in Monuments. That perhaps makes him the most dangerous for the World Championships later this year on a climber-friendly course in Innsbruck.
“If I had to choose between the second Tour and the World Championship, I would opt for the second one, because I’ve never won it,” Nibali said.
“I think I’m different from everyone else because in these years, I’m managed to win both the great tours and Monuments such as San Remo and Lombardia. I don’t want to boast, but I have always been that way.”
Nibali is completing 10 days of altitude training at San Pellegrino on the Dolomites ahead of the Tour start in Vendée on July 7.
His coach Paolo Slongo explained, “We always aim for a gradual preparation to the Tour. The riders who did well in the Dauphiné, I don’t know how much space they have for improvement, while Vincenzo will keep improving.”