Pink Nibali happy, but says Basso stays Liquigas captain
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pink Nibali happy, but says Basso stays Liquigas captain

by Bjorn Haake at 2:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Another power struggle?

Vincenzo Nibali donned the pink leader's jersey in the Giro d'Italia today after his Liquigas-Doimo team won the the team time trial over 33km. Nibali was excited to take the race lead in his home country, after the Giro caravan made the strenuous jump south from the Netherlands.

"It is beautiful, for a rider there is nothing better," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. Nibali had been sitting in fourth place overall, just five seconds behind previous leader Alexander Vinokourov. Liquigas left the second-placed Sky team behind by 13 seconds, giving Nibali the race lead easily in the first of four time trial events in this year's Giro.

But the jump into pink came as a surprise to the young Italian. "I didn't think about putting on the jersey, but now that I have it I want to carry it as far as possible." He cautioned that the strategy hasn't changed for the team. "Ivan [Basso] is the captain. To have him by my side is an advantage, the problems will be created by the others."

Today, the others couldn't create any problems, but having Basso on his side was certainly an advantage for Nibali. "He was extremely strong today. The other teammates also did an incredible job."

There is no jealousy from the man who wants to take pink in Verona. "I am very content for Vincenzo," Basso said to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "This is an important day in the economy of our Giro d'Italia."

Basso is second and teammate Valerio Agnoli is third, so three Italians leading the Corsa Rosa is certainly going to create even more interest among the tifosi.

Nibali has finished 11th in the 2008 Giro d'Italia and seventh in last year's Tour de France, so he and Basso can certainly do some damage. This is bad news for Carlos Sastre, who is still the favorite for many, including Italian Paolo Bettini. But the first week, certainly not made for the Spaniard, sees him already 2'13 behind Nibali. Still within the three minutes that Bettini had said Sastre's competitors would need ahead of the Terminillo in stage eight.


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