Vincenzo Nibali will ride Paris-Roubaix for the first time in 2022, as part of an attempt to tackle all five monuments this season.
According to reports in Vélofuté and L'Equipe, the 37-year old is to race the 'Hell of the North' as part of a busy schedule that sees the Italian also return to the Tour of Flanders for the second time, as well as riding the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia.
It will not be the first time Nibali has raced on the cobbles of Northern France, as he has tackled them as part of the Tour route before, most famously in 2014 when he finished third on the stage to Arenberg, cementing his position in the yellow jersey.
He put over two minutes into Alberto Contador that day, and Chris Froome, the defending champion, crashed out before the peloton had even reached the cobbles. Nibali is known as a good bike handler.
Back in October he told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "I’ve never done Paris-Roubaix, this could be the right time. Sure, it’s a risk, it’s a race that has to be prepared in fine detail, but you need to do it at least once in your life."
It is expected Nibali will ride Roubaix for Astana-Qazaqstan alongside Gianni Moscon, who also moved to the Kazakh team this winter. Moscon finished fourth in October's edition of the race after puncturing and then crashing while in the lead.
He is not the only unlikely figure to be racing a cobbled classic this season, with Tadej Pogačar also down to ride the Tour of Flanders.
The Italian has form in the monuments, winning Il Lombardia twice, in 2015 and 2017, and Milan-San Remo in 2018. He has also finished on the podium of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a race which suits his characteristics. He finished 24th on his one attempt at the Tour of Flanders in 2018, which he is also expected to be racing this year.
The 37-year old will race the Giro and then the Tour following his classics campaign but is unlikely to race for general classification at either of them.
Paris-Roubaix has been moved back a week in the calendar this season due to it clashing with France's presidential elections. This means it falls a fortnight after Flanders and just a week before Liège, which might be why Nibali is keen to ride it.
On Monday, race organisers ASO announced the teams that would be invited to both the men's and women's editions of Paris-Roubaix.
The 25 teams for the men's race include all WorldTeams, and the top three ranked ProTeams: Alpecin-Fenix, Arkéa-Samsic and TotalEnergies.
Four further teams have been given invites: French team B&B Hotels-KTM, Belgian teams Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB and Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, and Norweigian team Uno-X Pro Cycling.
For the women's race, all WorldTeams have been invited, with the addition of high-ranked Continental teams Ceratizit-WNT, Parkhotel Valkenburg and Valcar-Travel & Service.
The other invited teams are the French squads Arkéa Pro Cycling Team, Cofidis Women Team, Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime and St Michel-Auber 93, along with British team Le Col Wahoo, and Dutch team NXTG by Experza and Belgian team Plantur-Pura.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1