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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan) rolled back the years Saturday to post an impressive time in stage 2’s individual time trial at the Giro d’Italia, finishing 12th and conceding just 19 seconds to his general classification rival and the stage winner Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco).
Nibali’s team also brings overall contender in Miguel Ángel López, although the Colombian fared worse on the course and finished 34 seconds behind Nibali.
“Well, it was quite a fast race with an explosive final, I didn’t race this kind of time trial for a while, so my plan was to try to do my best and to see where I can reach at the finish,” Nibali said after the race.
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The 9.2km TT route wound its way around Budapest, finishing atop a 1.3km climb with gradients as steep as 14 percent in some places, making for a course more suited to Nibali’s abilities.
“I knew I had a good speed on the distance and, actually, my feeling was also good. So, I am quite satisfied with the result,” he said.
“It is still very early to talk about any goals in this race, I just want to stay in a good form, to work day by day, trying to be up there in front and then we will see how the race will turn out.”
— Astana Qazaqstan Team (@AstanaQazTeam) May 7, 2022
Nibali represented Italy with aplomb in every edition of the Giro he has raced, carrying the host country’s overall victory hopes for the last decade.
During his career, he has won the maglia rosa twice, in 2013 and 2016, collected seven stage victories and finished on the overall podium four times.
In recent years, however, Nibali languished further down the general classifications of grand tours, finishing 39th in the 2019 Tour de France and 18th in the 2021 Giro.
Since rejoining his former team Astana Qazaqstan at the beginning of this season, Nibali’s best result has been a fourth place overall at the Giro di Sicilia, 31 seconds behind Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious).