Nibali to start season at Tour of Oman after pulling out of Vuelta a San Juan
Nibali travelled to Argentina to take part in the Vuelta a San Juan, but was forced to withdraw ahead of the opening stage on Monday as he suffered from a fever and stomach problems.
Instead, according to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, the four-time Grand Tour winner will now start his season a month later than planned, heading to the Tour of Oman which starts on February 13.
From there the Bahrain-Merida rider will ride three Monuments over the course of the spring, starting with Milan-San Remo in March before heading the Belgium for the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April.
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After concentrating on one-day races in the spring, Nibali then looks likely to have a break from racing, with his final Tour preparation coming at the Critérium du Dauphiné, which starts on June 3, just over a month before the start of the Tour de France on July 7.
Depending on his condition coming out of the Tour de France, where he is expected to be one of the favourites to take the yellow jersey, Nibali is also expected to race the Vuelta a España before heading to the World Championships in Innsbruck where a hilly parcours will also suit his style of racing.
The Italian enjoyed a consistent 2017 season, finishing third at the Giro d’Italia and second at the Vuelta a España (although he may yet be named the winner pending the outcome of Chris Froome’s salbuatamol case), before finishing off the year with a popular home victory at Il Lombardia.