Trek-Segafredo rider Nibali had been using the Tour to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics later this month, where he is targeting a medal in the road race with the Italian national team.
Nibali had already ridden the Giro d’Italia this season, where he wasn’t able to compete for the overall win, before targeting stages in the French Grand Tour.
Despite his aggressive racing, jumping into a number of breakaways during the Tour’s mountain stages, Nibali’s best result was 11th on stage 15 to Andorra la Vella.
But after that finish, the 36-year-old opted to pull out of the Tour ahead of the second rest day on Monday (July 12), to focus on the Olympic road race on Saturday, July 24, where he will compete alongside his Trek-Segafredo team-mate Giulio Ciccone.
Nibali said: “I raced a different Tour compared to my past experience, but similar to 2016 before Rio.
“The Tour is a boost for everyone; you can compare with the top in the world. I think it was the perfect way for me to reach the top form for Tokyo.
“The feeling is good, but for a race like the Olympics, you need the entire team at the top. I’m sure my teammate Ciccone will be a key rider for the team.”
After making it into the elite 30-rider breakaway at the start of stage 15 Nibali, a winner of all three Grand Tours in his career, wasn’t able to match the pace of eventual winner Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), and had to settled for 11th place, 1-22 behind Kuss.
Nibali said: “It was hard all day, not just the finale, especially after the strong effort we made yesterday.
“In the finale, we tried to push hard, to set the pace high to make a selection. It was a way to control the race also. On the final climb there was no agreement in the breakaway, and it was just a personal confrontation among the best. I think it was a good day, we raced aggressively as the team has been doing since the beginning. Definitely, a last good test to leave the race.”
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