Vincenzo Nibali wants 2011 Giro d'Italia victory
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vincenzo Nibali wants 2011 Giro d'Italia victory

by Jered Gruber at 7:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Sicilian aiming for second Grand Tour win at next year's Giro

Liquigas's Vincenzo Nibali, the winner of this year's Vuelta a Espana, has his sights set on next year's race of his home country, the Giro d'Italia. The Shark of the Strait not only took the win at the season's final Grand Tour, but a podium spot behind only team captain, Ivan Basso, and David Arroyo. In 2011, Nibali is looking at the top step of the podium and hopes that he will get the chance to aim for glory as the Liquigas team leader.

"I hope that I will be team captain, so I can try to win the race," said the Sicilian to RAI TV following the presentation of the route in Milano on Saturday.

The chances look at least fair that Nibali will be the main guy. Ivan Basso has hinted that he hopes to put all of his eggs into the Tour de France basket, and why shouldn't he with a climb heavy, minimally time trial focused lap around France. Basso has two Giros to his name, but recently confessed that he hopes to win the other two Grand Tours, the Tour and the Vuelta, before he calls it a career. This would seemingly open the door wide for Nibali come next May.

It won't be an easy three week jaunt around Italy for Nibali though, but it's a challenging route that he seems to relish.

"I will give the route a nine out of ten. I've ridden the Giro three times now, and this is the hardest route I've ever seen."

While the Tour de France triumphantly parades its four mountaintop finishes, the Giro went out and nearly doubled the Grand Boucle's total to continue its reign as the most difficult of the Grand Tours. Nibali isn't scared though - his win at the Vuelta in September showed without question that the adopted Tuscan can not only survive the hardest climbs, but excel.

"It's a very tough Giro with many difficult stages, but I proved at the Vuelta that I can manage the climbs. I know some of them, but there are many that I don't know, and I'll have to go check them out."

The seven mountaintop finishes at next year's Giro are of course the main focus of any Grand Tour hopefuls attention, but Nibali knows that, like most any Giro, there will be some relatively innocuous stages that could be of great importance.

"I like the large climbs, but there are also other climbs on other stages, which can split the field and cause unpredicted problems."

The race will head to Nibali's homeland for Stage 9 and a mountaintop finish on Sicily on Europe's most active volcano, Mount Etna. Nibali will be particularly motivated to dominate at home, but it will be a very difficult day, and one that, for the moment, contains some unknown difficulties.

"I only know of one of the two climbs up Etna, but I know that the other way up is really tough."

The overall attitude from Nibali is of confidence. The soon to be 26 year old rider ascended to the top rung of the sport's Grand Tour contenders this year, and in 2011, he looks ready to build on the successes of 2010 - with eagerness and confidence, not fear or trepidation.

"There are no stages that I am particularly concerned about, because I'm good enough, even on the dirt roads that we will climb on the Colle delle Finestre."

Once again, the Giro will finish with a time trial. In 2011, the Giro will return to its traditional finishing city of Milano for the final time trial. Nibali knows about the importance of the final time trial following his jump to the podium following a great ride at last year's final time trial around Verona.

"The last time trial is 32 kilometers long and will be very important. The final time trial is flat and fast, so it suits me. It might be important as it was this year in Verona, where I took third place on the podium ahead of Scarponi. Of course, it all depends on what happens in the three weeks before that."

Before the Stage 21 time trial in Milano, Nibali will have two other time trials to negotiate. The first stage will begin with a team time trial to Torino on May 7th. The TTT should provide an early opportunity for Nibali to gain some important time, as his Liquigas team has shown itself as one of the world's best in the discipline. The next time trial will on Stage 16 and will be of the uphill variety from Belluno to Nevegal. Nibali admits to not knowing of the climb just yet, but has been told that it suits his capacities very well.

The climbs look good, the time trials look good, all looks good for a go at the overall next season. Hopefully in 2011, Nibali will be fighting for the top step of the podium when the race heads into Milano for that one final test.

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