Nationality: Italian Date of birth: November 14, 1984 Height: 179cm Weight: 61kg Team: Bahrain-Merida Twitter:@vincenzonibali
Vincenzo Nibali is the current saving grace of Italian cycling. In a period when the country is short on winning riders, Nibali has delivered them Grand Tour wins as well as exciting racing and has victories in the 2014 Tour de France, 2013 and 2016 Giro d’Italia and 2010 Vuelta a España.
Nabali continues to ride for Bahrain-Merida. In 2018, his sights were set upon the 2018 Tour de France general classification – however a crash on stage 12 saw him DNS the following day.
Nibali failed to impress at the Critérium du Dauphiné – which is often used as a warm up race for the three-week adventure in France. The Italian rider rolled in 27th on the GC, 21 minutes 12 seconds down on winner, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).
Nibali at the 2018 Criterium du Dauphine. Image: Sunada
At the 2017 Giro d’Italia, Nibali led his new Bahrain-Merida team in their first year on the WorldTour Stage and he featured on the start list as a prime contender.
With more time trial kilometres included in the 2017 Giro route than the de France, the leader and his team mates spent time in the wind tunnel, perfecting their set up aboard the Merida Warp TT bike in advance.
Nibali finished the 2017 Giro d’Italia in third place on the general classification, behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in second place. The Italian took a win on stage 16.
Nibali is often touted as a traditional rider in a modern era and is known for his descending skills. However, his 2014 Tour win was partly a result of painstaking work based on his power output and that of his rivals, masterminded by his coach Paolo Slongo.
Having won the 2013 Giro, the Italian took the brave move to skip his home tour in 2014 in favour for another assault on the Tour de France. It was a move that proved hugely successful. An opportunistic win on stage two in to Sheffield was followed by a sublime ride over the cobbles to set up a dominant three week performance. As his rivals fell by the wayside, Nibali grew stronger, dominating in the mountains and not showing a weakness.
Nibali had a busy winter after his 2014 Tour victory, and started the 2015 season slowly in comparison to the previous year. He was off the pace of his key rivals Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana throughout the 2015 Tour and finished in fourth place behind Froome, despite winning a stage in the Alps. Nibali himself said during the race: “I don’t even seem like the brother of Nibali from last year. I don’t know the problem”.
2016 looked to get off to a better start for the Italian champion, as he took overall victory with an impressive climbing display at the Tour of Oman. But again, Nibali looked off the pace in the build-up to the Giro d’Italia in the Tirreno-Adriatico and Giro del Trentino.
Things didn’t seem to get much better once the 2016 Giro started either, with Nibali struggling to hold on to the likes of Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) in the Dolomite mountain stages.
But you can never write him off. In the final two huge mountain stages, Nibali began his comeback from over four minutes down on Kruijswijk.
That moved him into second place, 44 seconds behind Colombia Chaves going into the final mountain day. As Chaves struggled on stage 20, Nibali and his Astana teammates played the tactics perfectly to aid his attack on the penultimate climb of Colle della Lombarda, leaving Chaves behind to take his second Giro victory.
The season didn’t get off to the best start, with Nibali finishing out of the top ten on GC at Tirreno-Adriatico – a race he won in 2012 and 2013. He commented that his new Bahrain-Merida team had made some mistakes, and perhaps lacked condition.
However, he has shown signs of a return in form ahead of the 2017 Giro, with a win at the Tour of Croatia – which he dedicated to former Astana team mate Michele Scarponi, who was hit by a van on a training ride.