COMO, Italy (VN) — Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) says that he still draws inspiration from Alberto Contador,  and how nothing less than a win counts. The Sicilian is showing that “nastiness” as he goes for his third Giro d’Italia title, he says.

Nibali and a few others gained 40 seconds on rival Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) in the stage 15 finish to Como on Sunday.

“It’s something good,” Nibali said, rolling to a stop and the end of the Giro’s second week of racing.

“In the first week, it was very flat and so it was just important to avoid crashes or getting caught behind. In the second week, the climbs started and Roglic showed himself to be very solid, and so has [Richard] Carapaz, who is very explosive on the climbs and is going very well.

“Now we’re going into the third week. Alberto Contador is here today, and I said, ‘In some ways, you’re still a source of inspiration for me.’ When he rode, finishing third, fourth or fifth didn’t count for him. Only winning counted, and it’s the same for me. That’s the ‘nastiness’ that we show when we’re racing.”

Over the last few days, Nibali has shown that he is very much in the game to win a third title to add to his 2013 and 2016 wins. With the recent gains, he sits third overall at 1:47.

Today, he attacked in the final that mirrored the Lombardia monument he won twice before. Nibali shot off the heels of his team-mate Damiano Caruso and pulled away with race leader Richard Carapaz (Movistar). They left behind pre-race favorite Roglic, who later crashed on the Civiglio decent into town.

“Carapaz showed he was very good, and he was able to follow me when I attacked. I continued with the attack and I saw that we were gaining something on Roglic,” Nibali said.

They linked up with Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Hugh Carthy (EF Education First), who attacked earlier. Dario Cataldo (Astana) won the stage over Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) from an early escape.

Nibali was focused on gaining time, and with the others, gained 40 seconds on danger-man Roglic.

“That’s definitely good,” Nibali added. “The third week is the hardest, so we’ll see.”

Carapaz leads the race with 47 seconds on Roglic now and 1:47 on Nibali. The race rests Monday and restarts its final mountainous week Tuesday, with a stage over the Mortirolo. However, the organizer cut the Gavia Pass due to fear of snow and ice on the descent.

“The absence of the Gavia could change the race but I’m not underestimating anyone. I saw that Yates is recovering. He was in front today. Perhaps he will try to force something. He is five minutes down, which is a lot, but he has shown that his condition is coming,” Nibali continued.

“Roglic has the time trial on his side [17km in Verona, stage 21] but if he rides only against me, then we’ll bring a lot of other riders into the mix. Roglic and I have the same objective.”