Vincenzo Nibali confirms Tour de France as key target for 2014
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Vincenzo Nibali confirms Tour de France as key target for 2014

by Ben Atkins at 11:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Italian just missing one Grand Tour from his palmares

vincenzo nibaliVincenzo Nibali (Astana) has confirmed that his key target for 2014 will be overall victory in the Tour de France, as the only Grand Tour he has yet to win. The 28-year-old “Shark of Messina” was speaking at the Gran Gala Ciclistico Internazionale, in the Teatro Accademia in Conegliano, Italy, where he was feted as the season’s “de facto numero uno” after his Giro d’Italia victory and runner up spot at the Vuelta a España.

“The Giro podium in Brescia was the highlight of the season, the atmosphere was simply unique, incredible,” Nibali said. “I wanted hard to win the Giro, and I am very proud to have managed to do that.”

Nibali’s Giro victory came after having taken third in 2010 and second in 2011, but he missed the 2012 edition as he was concentrating on the Tour de France that year, where he finished third behind the Team Sky duo of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome. The Giro title sits alongside the Vuelta that he won in 2010, and just has one three-week race to win to complete the set.

“The Tour de France is the only Grand Tour I am missing,” he said. “Two years ago I managed to step on the podium on a route that did not suit me a lot. This time out, I want to pursue the bigger goal; I owe it to the Italian supporters.”

Nibali came agonisingly close to winning a second Vuelta this year, but was finally lost a tight mountain duel to RadioShack-Leopard’s 41-year-old Chris Horner in the final stages. He then joined the Italian national team in Florence, Italy for the World championships, where - having chased back on after a mid-race crash - he narrowly missed out on a medal.

Both results were disappointments for the Italian, but one of them really hurt; particularly after the tactics played by one of the two Spanish riders in the final, four-man move.

“The fourth place in Florence disappointed me more than the runner-up at the Vuelta,” Nibali said. “In the finale I tried to play my cards, I knew I could not beat [Spain’s Alejandro] Valverde in a sprint, and I did not close on [Portugal’s] Rui Costa’s move ‘cause I thought he [Valverde] would.

“After the race, he said he didn’t have the legs, but on the climbs it did not look like that…"

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