Vincenzo Nibali down but not out after La Farrapona defeat
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vincenzo Nibali down but not out after La Farrapona defeat

by Ben Atkins at 5:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Defending Vuelta champion slips to seventh overall after failing to eat enough on tough mountain stage

vincenzo nibaliExpecting to take time on his rivals on his favoured territory on the climb to La Farrapona. Lagos de Somiedo at the end of the Vuelta a España’s fourteenth stage, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) instead found himself under pressure and losing time to his rivals. As the defending race champion put his team to work on the final two climbs of the day, playing a big part in chasing down a number of dangerous breaks, all seemed to be going to plan.

When race leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and teammate Chris Froome turned up the gas in the final three kilometres though, Nibali found himself unable to take the pace. He began the day just four seconds behind Wiggins but, instead of taking the red jersey from the British champion as he might have expected, Nibali now finds himself in seventh place, 1’25” back.

“On the [penultimate] climb of San Lorenzo, I was feeling good but in the last one, at some stage, I went flat,” explained Nibali at the finish. “I maybe didn’t feed myself well; there wasn’t much time to eat though.

“Once I got dropped, I tried to avoid too much damage,” he continued. “A weakness like that can happen to anyone, even to the best riders.”

For a climber like Nibali though, there are still opportunities to take time back, providing his defeat on La Farrapona was not down to any serious issue. He will still be confident of a strong performance on the next stage to the Angliru, where he could still find himself challenging for the red jersey.

“Tomorrow will be another day,” he concluded. “It’s going to be hard and it’ll be a different battle.”


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