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The race ends next Sunday, and the Sicilian they call ‘The Shark’ will likely attack with everything possible in the next seven days.
“Look, yesterday… I’m still Sicilian, so as Montalbano would say, it was breaking my cabbasisi [balls] a bit,” Nibali said after Stage 14, Saturday, making reference to Italy’s crime drama Inspector Montalbano based in Sicily.
Nibali yesterday arrived to the finish line and lashed out at his rival, who he thought was not racing like a leader.
“I said, listen Roglic, if you want to come and do a photo at my house, I’ll show you my bag of trophies whenever you want,” Nibali said 24 hours ago.
“I don’t need to prove anything. I was a bit fed up of the attitude that he had. I think if he wants to win this Giro, that’s not the way he should ride.”
On stage 14, Nibali attacked Roglic a couple of times near the top of the San Carlo climb, but could not shake him. Roglic was forced to be more aggressive with Richard Carapaz (Movistar) up the road.
The Ecuadorian became the first from his country to wear the pink jersey, which came on top of a stage win and 1:54 gain on his rivals. Roglic is now second at seven seconds to a rival who could win the race overall.
Nibali today justified his comments. He said, “The anger was understandable in that moment. There was a bit of anger, but we talked since.”
Both riders were called for anti-doping controls, and in the fenced area, they fist pumped. The action could be seen as a truce in an ongoing war for the Giro’s spiral trophy.
“Today he had a different kind of attitude in the race,” said Nibali. “I took my responsibility and he took his, and we all rode in the right way because we have a common objective, and we wanted to honor the Giro to the end, and I think we did that today by giving each other calm blows to the teeth. [laughs]”
Roglic, frugal with his words, remains a mystery. He began the race as a strong favorite since he had won the three stage races he entered in 2019: the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the Tour of Romandie. Of course, he had also placed fourth overall in the Tour de France last year.
In the last two days, however, the 29-year-old Slovenian rode defensively and when needed, took control. Doing so, he remained at the top, but just enough not to take the pink jersey.
“It’s hard to say, I don’t know [if he is trying to avoid taking the pink jersey],” Nibali added. “He rode well, he worked with us, unlike the previous days and that’s good, we’re all playing it in the same way.”
Nibali placed third on stage 14, picking up four seconds in bonus. He now sits third overall at 1:47 behind race leader Carapaz and 1:40 behind Roglic.
“Today was a hard day. I did the sprint. It’s not nothing, but in the end it was mainly to have something to show for all the good work we did today. Damiano Caruso was very strong. The race was hard from the first kilometer. I won’t hide that my sensations today weren’t super but then bit by bit, I started to feel better and better,” he said.
“We’ve come through this first trio of hard stages quite well. Tomorrow’s another hard stage. It’s not a stroll either. We’ll see.”
Nibali knows Sunday’s stage well because it follows the usual final of the Lombardia one-day race that he won two times. It is the last stage of the second phase of the Giro, leaving one week to race when it restarts Tuesday after a rest.