Nibali awestruck and inspired by Tour de France podium finish
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nibali awestruck and inspired by Tour de France podium finish

by Kyle Moore at 11:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
“It was a great battle against opponents with great talent”

Vincenzo NibaliVincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) took to the podium in Paris on Sunday to collect his trophy for finishing third overall in the Tour de France, in what was a very emotional moment for the Italian star. Nibali appreciated the grueling nature of the race, and though he was unable to separate, or separate himself from Sky Procycling team-mates Bradley Wiggins and Christopher Froome, he expressed satisfaction at being on another Grand Tour podium.

Being the rider most able to disrupt the juggernaut of Team Sky, Nibali fought valiantly in the Tour’s final week, but he was unable to dislodge Wiggins or Froome on either the crushing ascents or the blistering descents of the Pyrenees. More commonly seen at the Giro d’Italia, and a former champion of the Vuelta a España, the Italian earned more fans in France with his willingness to play offense – using an attacking style that firmly planted him in third place by the Tour’s conclusion.

Nibali verbalized his feelings after dismounting the podium in Paris on Sunday.

“Today is a special day, one that makes me very happy. It was a great battle against opponents of great talent,” Nibali said of the Sky riders with whom he shared the podium. “To make it here to the podium means that I am among the strongest. For me there is obviously a moment of conclusion, but it’s also a taking off point. I am happy with this finish, but I am happy with the knowledge that I have to do more to improve my focus in order to, in the future, reach the top step of the podium.”

The Italian was pleased to add to his palmarès in the Grand Tours, and he thanked various members of his entourage who helped him hit his target. Nibali is not expected to return to Liquigas-Cannondale in 2013, so he expressed his appreciation to all parts of the lime green squad.

“I have proven to be competitive in all stage races and this is really a good result,” he added. “I want to thank the whole team, to all of the staff members, because I have always been close with them and they have supported me in an exceptional manner. We are a special group, and in spite of the difficult battles, we were able to confirm that we are one of the best teams in the world.

“I am also proud of having brought Italy to the podium in an important race like the Tour de France. During these last few days the warmth of the fans has been a major boost. To them, my family, my girlfriend Rachele and to all those who believed in me – I dedicate this result.”

Having emerged as one of the top contenders of his generation in three-week races, Nibali used his emotions on the Tour de France podium to fuel his ambitions in future races.

“It’s a real emotion that I would like to feel again someday, but as the winner,” Nibali said of the Paris podium presentation. “There was an enormous audience. On the Champs Élysées, I thought about my background. I debuted when I was still in Sicily. The Grand Tours have always fascinated me.

“I’d like to win all three. I already have won the Vuelta and I’m on the podium in the Giro and the Tour.”


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