Vincenzo Nibali: “Winner of the Giro and second at the Vuelta: it’s pretty good.”
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Vincenzo Nibali: “Winner of the Giro and second at the Vuelta: it’s pretty good.”

by Ben Atkins at 5:16 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Italian gives his all on the Angliru as Astana’s best laid plans don’t quite come off

vincenzo nibaliVincenzo Nibali (Astana) gave everything on the final climb of the 2013 Vuelta a España, the Alto de l’Angliru, today but was just unable to crack red jersey Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard). In the end, after several attempts to escape the American, it was Nibali himself that cracked as Horner finally made his own move inside the final two kilometres.

“I’ve tried everything I could,” said Nibali at the finish. “More than that was impossible. I’m happy because I’ve done the whole climb flat out and I knew I could count on my teammates who were in the breakaway. It’s been a great battle on the Angliru. I was on a great shape but it’s normal that I gave in to Horner in the finale."

Astana appeared to have ridden a perfect stage as the peloton headed towards the final climb, having put three riders in the substantial breakaway, in the shape of Andriy Grivko, Jakob Fuglsang and Paolo Tiralongo. As the red jersey group was whittled down to just the overall favourites, the Italian was in a prime position, with Fuglsang and Tiralongo up the road as stepping stones for his attack.

Unfortunately, however, when Nibali did attack he was not able to get across to either of his teammates before he was clawed back by Horner. Despite having been further up the road - in the company of eventual stage winner Kenny Elissonde (FDJ.fr) - Tiralongo was the rider that Nibali caught first, pulling the small group up to Fuglsang. By that time all the two riders were able to do was pace the group for a while for Nibali to attack alone again.

Had Nibali been able to get to either of his teammates during his earlier solo attack, he may have been able to escape Horner’s clutches and got away to win.

Despite missing out on the final victory - which he would have added to his Giro d’Italia victory from earlier in the season, and become only the fourth rider to win both in the same season - Nibali is proud of his Vuelta, which he led for 13 days in all.

“I’ve raced well at the Vuelta from stage one to now,” he said. “It’s been a very hard Vuelta. I’ve honoured the red jersey.

“Possibly at El Formigal [stage 16 - ed], I underestimated Horner and he gained a few seconds, but I have to be realistic. I didn’t arrive at the Vuelta with the same condition I had at the Giro but I’ve done my best every day according to my physical possibilities. I’ve had great rivals: Horner, [Movistar’s Alejandro] Valverde, Purito [Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha)]… They have put the rhythm of the Vuelta very high.

“I’m fine with the outcome,” Nibali added. “Winner of the Giro and second at the Vuelta: it’s pretty good.”

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