Sicilian star Nibali will be following an entirely Italian schedule, with Strade Bianche and Milano-Sanremo opening his restarted season before he heads to Tirreno-Adriatico to hone the legs for October’s Giro.
Nibali had previously shown frustration at the clash of the Giro with Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but a shot at a third pink jersey proved too enticing.
“I’ll focus on an exclusively Italian calendar, with the Giro still at the center of my goals, which makes me happy and proud,” Nibali said in a team statement. He will be backed up at the Giro by compatriot and 2019 Giro KOM jersey winner Giulio Ciccone.
Nibali is also planning on racing the world championships in Switzerland late September, but is waiting on updates around a possible shift in venue to a sprinter-friendly course in Qatar before confirming.
Richie Porte will be hoping to back up his strong start to the season with a solid performance at the Tour alongside Dutchman Bauke Mollema, who will follow up his run in France with a stage-hunting role at the Vuelta a España in late fall.
Porte has recently returned to riding on open roads after training indoors through Monaco’s lockdown, an experience he described as “a bit like torture.”
“It’s been a week since I’ve been allowed out on the road and of course the fire is burning for the Tour de France, but when you miss nine weeks of riding on the road it’s a shock to the system,” Porte said.
“It’s definitely going to be uncharted territory racing the Tour in September,” he continued. “I’m not sure how different it will be, though I don’t expect it to be as hot as normal and the weather might be a bit more fickle in the mountains.”
Nibali also commented on the differing conditions facing riders as races are shifted from their usual slots in the season.
“There are many unknown variables, both in terms of preparation and in the races,” he said. “Climbing the high mountains of the Giro in autumn or riding the 300 kilometers of Milano-Sanremo in August, for example, it’s something unprecedented. But I like new challenges and the desire to pin on a number is great… I am motivated and, above all, I’m optimistic that I can go back to doing what we riders and fans like: racing.”