Astana “very satisfied” with Nibali’s form progression prior to Vuelta a España
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Astana “very satisfied” with Nibali’s form progression prior to Vuelta a España

by Shane Stokes at 5:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
“There were justifiable doubts in his progress…[but now] it's very encouraging”

Vincenzo NibaliAlthough there were some concerns expressed about Vincenzo Nibali’s form after he finished outside the top fifty in the Tour de Pologne, the Italian showed he is on course for a strong Vuelta a España when he took a fine third overall in the Vuelta a Burgos yesterday.

The Astana rider was one of the most aggressive on the final stage, attacking towards the end of the race to the Lagunas de Neila and crossing the line 48 seconds behind the solo winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar). He was 25 seconds behind runner up David Arroyo (Caja Rural Seguros RGA) and 23 behind his former team-mate Ivan Basso (Cannondale).

Astana Pro Team Director Sportif Alexandr Shefer said the stage was all about testing Nibali’s form as the Vuelta a España draws closer.

“We wanted to put as many riders in the breakaway as we could today, to counter the number of mountains and help Nibali launch an attack at the finish,” he explained.

“But all the other teams wanted the same thing, so our tactics changed over time. In the end Tiralongo got away before the final climb and when Nibali moved up they worked together to attack the peloton. The group was very small and the action was very concentrated.”

Nibali ended the 2.HC race on the podium, 55 seconds behind Quintana and 32 off Arroyo’s runner-up slot. He can be satisfied with the progression he has shown after what was a two month layoff after his Giro d’Italia victory, and if he can continue his progression he can fight for a strong overall result – and possibly the final victory – in the Vuelta.

Shefer is clear that any questions the team had have been put to rest. “It was a good test today to see how Nibali's form is coming along, and I can say we are all very satisfied with what we saw,” he stated.

“There were justifiable doubts in his progress, but the racing he did previous to Burgos was too early for him to go full gas. Here he had his sights set on the final stage from the start, and he rode to his limit on the day. It's very encouraging as we head into the Vuelta.”

Nibali won the Vuelta a España in 2010 and wants to shine both there and in the world road race championships, which will be held in Firenze, Italy, in September.

The course is a punchy one believed suited to climbers, and he will see himself as one of those who can fight for the Maillot Arc en Ciel.



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