After two month break from racing, Giro d’Italia champion Nibali returns to competition in Tour de Pologne
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Friday, July 26, 2013

After two month break from racing, Giro d’Italia champion Nibali returns to competition in Tour de Pologne

by Shane Stokes at 7:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Clásica de San Sebastián, Tour of Poland
Italian leads Astana team, Fuglsang heads line-up for San Sebastian

Vincenzo NibaliFollowing a long break from competition, Vincenzo Nibali will don a racing number for the first time since May 26th when he heads the Astana selection in the Tour de Pologne.

The Giro winner’s return takes place in Trentino, Italy, with the WorldTour race spending two days in the mountains prior to moving to Poland.

Nibali dominated the Giro, finishing four minutes 43 seconds ahead of Sky’s Rigoberto Uran and almost six minutes clear of Cadel Evans. It was the best performance of his career but he has had a break from racing since then, with the 28 year old wanting to ensure he is fresh before pushing for strong results in the Vuelta a España and world championships.

Poland will be the first opportunity for him to test his form. A new, experimental format to the race structure sees teams limited to just six riders; he will be backed by fellow Italians Valerio Agnoli, Paolo Tiralongo and Alessandro Vanotti, the Kazakhstani rider Alexandr Dyachenko and the Estonian Tanel Kangert.

A solid performance by Nibalia will show him he is on track for the Vuelta, which starts in less than a month.

His directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli identifies what he regards as two new challenges in this year’s race. “First, we will start in Trentino with two days in the mountains, and then take a rest day on Monday to move the peloton a thousand kilometres north to Krakow.

“Second, the six-man squads will make it more difficult for any one team to control the peloton. And with the introduction of intermediate KOM and sprint competitions, we can expect each stage to be dramatic and exciting from start to finish.”

Meanwhile the team’s other recent Grand Tour leader, Jakob Fuglsang, will head the selection for tomorrow’s Clasica San Sebastian. He notched up his best three week result when he finished seventh in the Tour de France and after a break of several days, will look for a good result in the race.

Jakob FuglsangWhile riders who have done the Tour are undoubtedly fatigued, they also tend to enjoy good form for some time after the cessation of that race.

He will be joined by several strong team-mates, namely Italians Fabio Aru, Enrico Gasparotto and Francesco Gavazzi, Russia’s Egor Silin and the two Kazakhstani riders Maxim Iglinskiy and Assan Bazayev.

Directeur sportif Alexandr Shefer underlines the likelihood that riders from the Tour will be prominent in the race. “After Paris there are riders who finish strong and can continue to hold their form. Jakob was among those who kept with the leaders in the final week of the Tour and whose profile as a climber is especially suited to San Sebastian and the Alto de Jaizkibel climb at 200k,” he said.

“We will start with Fuglsang as our leader, but we have many cards to play in a race we know well.”

Last year’s race was won by Luis Leon Sanchez ahead of Simon Gerrans and Gianni Meersman.

Astana team rosters:

Tour de Pologne (July 27 – August 3):

Vincenzo Nibali - ITA
Valerio Agnoli - ITA
Alexandr Dyachenko - KAZ
Tanel Kangert - EST
Paolo Tiralongo - ITA
Alessandro Vanotti - ITA

Clasica San Sebastian (July 27):

Fabio Aru - ITA
Jakob Fuglsang - DEN
Enrico Gasparotto - ITA
Francesco Gavazzi - ITA
Maxim Iglinskiy - KAZ
Assan Bazayev - KAZ
Egor Silin - RUS


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