Nibali heads home satisfied but unsure when he’ll race again
Much like the rest of the international peloton, the Italian star doesn’t know what’s coming next as Spain joined Italy over the weekend in a nationwide lockdown to try to rein in the coronavirus health crisis.
“We were able to finish Paris-Nice because the level of attention and precautions within the team and in the race were very high,” Nibali said. “The organization kept the race heavily guarded and allowed us to run in a way that was adequate. Now all activity stops for cycling as a whole. We will wait for what develops next, and then we will make the necessary evaluations.”
Paris-Nice was held against the backdrop of the coronavirus, and could be the last race in quite some time as Europe braces for more lockdowns. Officials took measures to keep fans away from the start and finish areas, and were able to bring the race to an early conclusion Saturday, after deciding to do away with the final circuit course around Nice on Sunday.
Riders and staffers from Trek-Segafredo headed home over the weekend unsure what lies ahead. Races have been canceled or postponed, and it’s unsure if and when racing can resume.
“Right now, there are so many things unsure, and at the moment, it’s difficult to make decisions of what to do and when to do it,” said director Steven de Jongh. “We will have a meeting with all the sport directors on Monday, and hopefully, by then, we will have more information about the upcoming calendar.
“We also understand the situation that it’s hard for the race organizers to make decisions at the moment,” he said. “We have to all be flexible, and then all is possible still. We will see what the organizers will do, and we have to respect what they put in place. Together we will find a solution.”
For Nibali, who now lives in Lugano, Switzerland, the uncertain future comes just as he was demonstrating strong early season form with his move to Trek-Segafredo. The Italian was targeting the Giro d’Italia and Olympic Games as season highlights, but now much of the season is thrown into chaos.
“I’m pleased with my Paris-Nice,” said Nibali on Saturday. “Today was my first real long climb in a race, and I confirmed my good feelings. When I realized I couldn’t leave alone, I preferred to follow their wheels. Nairo [Quintana] is having a peak of exceptional condition. It was very difficult for anyone to beat him today.”
Nibali finished fourth overall, and heads home not sure when he’ll be racing again. So far, he’s raced 14 days in 2020. Nibali, like everyone else, hopes he’ll have more chances to race than that.