Vincenzo Nibali would consider future with Team Sky

The Italian said he wants to remain leader but would consider moving to the British team

Vincenzo Nibali has not ruled out the possibility of joining Team Sky Photo: Yuzuru SUNADA
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Vincenzo Nibali would consider moving to Team Sky in a leadership role.

The Italian, who is under contract with Bahrain-Merida until 2019, said Sky is one of the best teams in the world and did not rule out moving to the British outfit.

Nibali added that he plans to continue riding in a leadership role.

Speaking at the WTM travel show in London, Nibali told Cycling Weekly: “I’m happy that in the past Team Sky have considered me.

“In the past we haven’t found the deal, but for sure Team Sky is one of the best teams in the word, they have won a lot of Tours de France and big tours - Giro d’Italia and Vuelta.

“We can open talks with all teams seriously and for sure Sky is one of the teams.

“We’ll take the decision about my future next year.”

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The 33-year-old, a member of the exclusive group of riders who have won all three Grand Tours, has been with Bahrain-Merida since 2017 when he joined from Astana.

Nibali was in line to join Sky at the team's inception in 2009, with a multi-year contract on the table.

But he was unable to make the switch due to an existing contract with Liquigas.

In a 2013 interview, Nibali admitted he regretted not being able to join Sky.

A general classification rider with considerable one-day racing talents, Nibali has achieved some of the highest accolades in bike racing.

He followed a 2017 victory at Il Lombardia with a nail-biting victory at the other Italian Monument, Milan-San Remo in spring.

Nibali won the Giro d’Italia in both 2013 and 2016, the Tour de France in 2014 and the Vuelta a España in 2010.

When asked what role he saw for himself in a potential move to Sky, Nibali said: “My history of cycling is the leader.

“I think that also for the next few years I see myself a leader. If a team want to take me, they want to take me for the win.

“But also in the past when some riders in the same team need my help, I help another rider, for example Ivan Basso when he won the Giro d’Italia.

“For me it’s no problem. The season is very long. There is the space for every rider, and I want to arrive at my targets but also the goals of the team.”

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Nibali’s 2018 was a testing season.

After a glorious victory in Milan-San Remo, the Italian carried good form into the Tour de France, holding onto fourth overall as the race reached Alpe d’Huez on stage 12.

But a clash with a fan on the slopes sent Nibali home with a broken vertebra, resulting in him needing surgery.

He returned to racing at the Vuelta but without any expectations, before riding a thrilling Il Lombardia that saw him finish second behind Thibaut Pinot.

When asked about his expectations for 2019, Nibali said: “It’s only one or two weeks that I’ve known the routes of the big tours.

“Then the first step is in December when I’ll meet the coach, the sports director, and the team management of Bahrain-Merida. Only in December I can put all the paper on the table and I can decide which my target is for 2019.

“It’s important to speak with the team, the general manager, my trainer to decide the programme for me next season.”

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