Vincenzo Nibali targeting the Critérium du Dauphiné on the road to the Tour de France
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vincenzo Nibali targeting the Critérium du Dauphiné on the road to the Tour de France

by Ben Atkins at 2:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
Italian to ride his first race on French soil in almost three years

vincenzo nibaliVincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is to target overall victory in next month’s Critérium du Dauphiné, as he prepares for July’s Tour de France. The Italian has chosen the Tour, over his home Giro d’Italia, this season, leaving the Italian race to teammate Ivan Basso, who finished fifth.

The 27-year-old “Shark” from Messina, Sicily, last rode the week-long Alpine race back in 2009, when he finished seventh behind winner Alejandro Valverde. He went on to take the same result in the Tour de France that year, and - strangely - has not set foot on French soil since.

This year will be different however, as he is basing his whole season around la Grande Boucle, which is why he will be on the Dauphiné’s Grenoble start line on Sunday, June 3rd.

“The Dauphiné’s the best place to prepare for the Tour de France and my sole aim is to build my form for July,” he said.

Nibali’s season started very strongly, with fourth place at the tour de San Luis and second in the Tour of Oman leading to victory in Tirreno-Adriatico and third in Milano-Sanremo. Since taking second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège however, he has had a quiet May, but now aims to step things up as the summer approaches.

“After Liège-Bastogne-Liège,” he explained, "I took the days off I needed and since then I have only raced in the Tour of California, where I suffered, just as I expected [he finished 32nd overall - ed]. But now I have the opportunity to take a step forward. I always start races with the objective of achieving the best possible result, so this is what I'll be aiming for in the Dauphiné.”

Nibali has reportedly been in conflict with his team over the second half of his season, and his preparation for the World championships. He will be leaving Liquigas-Cannondale at the end of the season, and the green and blue team wants to send him to the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, instead of the Vuelta a España, which he would prefer.

In the meantime however, the Shark is focussing on the Tour, and the Dauphiné will be his next step towards it.

“I'm going to start getting into French mode to prepare for July,” he said. “I'm dying to race in the Tour de France!”

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