Giro win in pocket, Nibali turns focus to Rio
TORINO, Italy (VN) — Barely moments after winning the Giro d’Italia, Nibali turned his attention to his next major goal: the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
After a short vacation, Nibali said he will link up with Astana teammates preparing for the Tour de France, and he reconfirmed that he won’t be riding to win.
“[Fabio] Aru will be the leader for the GC. I will go in a support role, and to prepare for the Olympics,” Nibali said. “The Olympics are my next big goal, that doesn’t change.”
There is some swirling media speculation in Italy that Nibali could take aim at the yellow jersey, and try to become the first rider since Marco Pantani to win the Giro and Tour in the same season, but Nibali said he wouldn’t be trying to match history.
“I don’t think too much about that,” he said. “Aru is the team’s GC man. My goal is to prepare for the Olympics.”
Off contract this season, Nibali also dodged questions about his professional future. He’s been linked to a start-up team back by a Bahraini prince, but Astana general manager Alexander Vinokourov told reporters he’s still hoping Nibali will remain with the team.
“I have my representatives working on all of that for me,” Nibali said. “When it’s the right time and place, I will reveal my future team.”
Nibali also said he never lost faith in his ability to win the Giro despite falling adrift after a few rough stages in the Dolomites. He admitted he was suffering from some stomach problems, but said he tried to keep it under wraps. The decisive moment came when he said he noticed race leader Steven Kruijswijk suffering on the Colle dell’Agnello on Friday.
“I think I noticed something that the others didn’t, that Kruijswijk was breathing heavily on the Agnello, so I decided to make my attack with 3km to go from the summit,” Nibali said. “I knew the last week of the Giro favored me. I could see on the Agnello I was stronger, and I decided to attack, and the race unfolded like it did.”