Three seems to be the key number of Vincenzo Nibali this spring: on Monday April 22nd, in Kufstein (Austria), the Sicilian rider will start another run to the Tour of the Alps, a race that he won twice in his career, before questing for a third Giro d’Italia pink jersey.
The Euregio Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino and its mountains have a long and glorious history in top class cycling, and this time again cycling fans will have the opportunity to witness a spectacular duel between the greatest Grand Tour riders of their generation, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) and Chris Froome (Team Sky).
Nibali has been brilliant in the past in the GS Alto Garda event, winning it twice in 2008 and 2013. This year, the Sicilian goes for a third overall success, that would equal the record of Damiano Cunego. “I feel related to this race – Nibali explains. – I won my first Giro del Trentino in 2008, repeating the success in 2013, the season of my first Giro d’Italia success. I still remember the emotions of the win in Folgaria, conquered ahead of Franco Pellizotti, who will be in my team car as sports director in this year’s Tour of the Alps.”
Joined by his trusted trainer Paolo Slongo, the 34-year old is coming off an altitude training camp at the Teide volcano, in Spain. “The work has been intense, and I will need to find race rhythm, but there’s still time before the Giro begins. I feel confident. After the Tour of the Alps, I will fly to Liege-Bastogne-Liege, in Belgium. These routes might be perfect also to set up the race on the Ardennes.”
“I really like the TotA formula, made of short and demanding stages – Nibali said – and that’s the way also Grand Tours seem to be going. Tour of the Alps stages are usually contested since the beginning, proving spectacular for the audience and challenging for the riders”.
On his way to a possible GC win, Chris Froome will be one of Nibali’s fiercest rivals: they got 10 Grand Tours victories between the two, and both won all of the three major stage races. “I think Chris Froome will be competitive. The Tour de France is still quite a long way, but we are talking about a champion. This will be my first race since Milan-Sanremo and the altitude training: I am looking forward to test my feelings before the Giro.”
Vincenzo Nibali will feature along with Chris Froome at the race eve’s press conference in Kufstein on Sunday April 21st at 16.30 (Kultur Quartier Kufstein, Theaterplatz 1), before the teams’ public presentation at 17.30 in Oberer Stadtplatz.