Vincenzo Nibali was ‘hoping for a little more’ in final Giro d’Italia
The Italian will likely finish the race in fourth place overall but he wanted to bow out with a stage victory.
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CASTELLO DI FIEMME, Italy (VN) — Vincenzo Nibali’s time as a rider at the Giro d’Italia is almost at its end, with the Astana-Qazastan rider due to say goodbye to the race after the time trial Sunday.
Nibali announced his retirement in the first week of the Giro d’Italia when the race visited his home of Messina.
The Astana captain came to the grand tour with ambitions of claiming a stage win and enjoying one more success with the Italian public but will likely leave without it.
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“I was hoping for a little more to be able to try to win a stage because always raising your arms to the sky is a unique emotion,” Nibali told a crowd of reporters after the finish. “I came close to a win in Turin, because it was the day where I was better, but I was really closely followed by [Jai] Hindley. They rightly feared me a little, but in the end, they still felt much better than me.”
Despite not laying claim to a stage victory, Nibali has still delighted the crowds with his presence and solid GC performance — even if it wasn’t what he had been able to do in his pomp.
With his time trialing skills, Nibali will likely hold on to his fourth place overall in the final stage. However, he is now too far back from Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), barring any disaster for the Spaniard, to take the final spot on the podium.
Nibali has shown some flashes of his younger self during this Giro d’Italia, particularly in that dramatic Turin stage. However, he has struggled to match the top three in the high mountains, and he lost over two minutes to Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) and 40 seconds on the ailing Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) on the summit finish of the Marmolada on Saturday.
“I have always hated this climb, it never lets you breathe,” Nibali said. “I only thought about keeping my pace by making it to the top and reaching the finish line. This morning when I got on the stage at the start, the audience gave me great emotions, which makes everything less difficult for you.
“I also have to thank my team who made me return to this race and this gave me a lot of mental peace of mind.”
Nibali has ridden the Giro d’Italia more than any other grand tour on the cycling calendar with this year his 11th appearance. His record has always been good at his home race, finishing in the top 10 on seven occasions.
He has had the joy of winning the pink jersey twice in 2013 and 2016, and he finished on the podium some four more times.
“The Giro was sort of my home because I was often on the podium, even if I didn’t manage that this year,” Nibali said.
🇮🇹 RACE: @giroditalia @vincenzonibali finishes 17th on the queen stage and conserves his 4th position in the GC ahead of the final time trial in Verona.#AstanaQazaqstanTeam #Giro
📷 @GettySport pic.twitter.com/yAyMlIzsdy
— Astana Qazaqstan Team (@AstanaQazTeam) May 28, 2022