News

Just like everyone else, Nibali waiting on sidelines

The Italian star is waiting to see if his Olympic dreams will be fulfilled in a season thrown into disarray.

Vincenzo Nibali sat inside his home Friday afternoon in Switzerland, wondering when he’ll be racing next. Under these uncertain times of coronavirus crisis, a press conference was aptly held virtually, and the Italian star fielded questions via a live Facebook chat session.

Just like everyone in the cycling world, the Italian is sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see if and when racing resumes.

“I don’t have a very well defined program right now,” Nibali said. “I’m working with my trainer to see what the workload can be depending on what races we might be able to do in the coming months. We can ride on the road here, but I’m doing a lot of mountain biking because it’s more intense, and I’m being very careful on the descents.”

At 35, Nibali was building for a big year, with the Giro d’Italia, the 2020 Olympic Games, and the world championships as his central goals.

With cycling on hold until at least May and the Giro d’Italia already postponed, Nibali — just like everyone else — is being forced to reconsider everything.

Perhaps in a reflection of how fast things were moving, Nibali and his team was among the starters at Paris-Nice earlier this month. Now the calendar is shut down until May.

When asked if it was a mistake to have raced, the Trek-Segafredo star said they did not feel any danger at the start of the race.

“We didn’t feel unsafe at Paris-Nice,” he said. “After the first stage, the organization took additional steps to keep separate the fans from the riders. We never felt anything strange during the race. It was only when we went home to see how the streets were empty of traffic and did we realize much the situation had changed.”

Like many of the pros who had been working hard to hit form, Nibali said he was naturally disappointed when races started to get canceled. He also expressed solidarity with race organizers and the larger cycling community.

“I was without words. From the first races, my form was building day by day, and things were looking good for the first major goals of the season,” he said. “The work that I had done was showing dividends. Not only me, but other riders on the team working for the northern classics. Now it’s all stopped. We can only wait.”

Nibali said he’s still hoping the Olympics can be held, but said if they’re postponed or delayed, holding them in 2021 is better than 2022. And what about a Giro that is held in the fall with fewer days?

“It would not be a Giro, but a half Giro,” he said. “The three big tours should all remain the same duration. I can understand that a [shorter] Giro might be a solution to save it this year, but I wouldn’t like it.”