Vincenzo Nibali deciding between Giro and Tour

New Astana man Vincenzo Nibali may ride two grand tours in 2013, but it won't be the Giro and the Tour

MILAN (VN) — Italy’s top stage racer Vincenzo Nibali will decide between the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, and likely will not ride both next year.

“It’s too hard,” he told VeloNews, “the races are too close together.”

The 27-year-old joined VeloNews for a caffè on Sunday before the Giro d’Italia presentation, speaking about the 2013 edition of the Giro, the Tour and his switch from Liquigas-Cannondale to Astana. The Sicilian will link up with Kazakh squad’s Italian team manager Giuseppe Martinelli, who has guided many cyclists to grand tour wins, from Marco Pantani to Alberto Contador.

Nibali said that his last race with Liquigas will likely be the Giro dell’Emilia in Bologna Saturday and that afterwards, he will give full concentration to 2013. However, given what he knows about the Giro and the Tour already, and his third place in this year’s Tour, he could not help thinking about the possibilities.

“[The Tour] will feature some important climbs, and it’s going to be a lot more difficult,” Nibali said. “I’ve heard the rumors about it visiting the historic climbs.”

The Tour will feature Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez, twice, according to French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré. Organizer ASO already announced it will start with three stages in Corsica before traveling to the mainland. It will announce the official route October 24.

After a drink, Nibali went into the Giro presentation, where the rumors he’d heard of that route were confirmed: a team time trial, stages through the south, a long (55km) time trial and a mountainous final in the north up the Galibier and Tre Cime di Lavaredo climbs.

“Certainly, the long time trial after the team time trial, plus the mountain time trial, could be good for him,” he told the press when asked about Tour winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky). “I hope to be there, but I still don’t know my race plan.”

Astana was initially thinking about taking Nibali to win the Giro, but the plan may be changing. The Kazakh team may have him skip the race all together for a chance at winning the Tour.

Nibali place third this year to Sky’s Wiggins and Chris Froome. He seemed the only one capable of cracking the duo in the last week, but fell short. The result, 6:19 minutes back overall — and most of that lost in two long time trials — tempts him to return.

“He left the Tour with the knowledge that he can play for any stage race [win] in the future without fearing his rivals,” long-time trainer, Paolo Slongo told VeloNews. “He has the knowledge, even without [Alberto] Contador this year, that he can be there [to win]. He won’t start the next year saying, ‘I hope to be up with the favorites.’ No. He will start as a favorite.”

Slongo stays with Liquigas and says goodbye to Nibali, but the two have already discussed racing to win the Giro and the Tour in the same year. Slongo told him it is not possible, and to do the Giro and the Vuelta — as he did when he won the Vuelta in 2010 — or just the Tour.