He might be 36 but he is still as hungry as a rookie. Determination is one of the strengths of Vincenzo Nibali, who is approaching 2021 with a renewed attitude and the strive to collect those few gems he is still missing in his great career: the Olympic Gold medal, and the Liège-Bastogne-Liège to which he went close several times.
Furthermore, the program of the Shark includes the Giro d’Italia, where he can’t be anything but protagonist. And in order to get the best shape for it, Nibali chose a familiar path for him at the Tour of the Alps (April 19 to 23, 2021). The Italian rider feels at home in the Euregio: in fact, he has already won the 2008 and 2013 editions of the race, then known as Giro del Trentino, and succeeding again would bring him at the top of the all-time winners ranking, tied with Damiano Cunego.
“The Tour of the Alps and even before the Giro del Trentino has always been a key appointment of my spring” – explained the Shark -. “The TotA is one of those short stage races perfectly designed to enhance the best skills of grand tour riders. Every year, there’s a high-level startlist: it’s a real comparison on mountain terrain, a few weeks before the Giro d’Italia. TotA is a very important race to understand where your shape stands, and a good result can also give a significant moral boost to face two prestigious appointments as the Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro itself“.
Vincenzo Nibali’s most recent appearance on the roads of Tirol, South Tyrol and Trentino dates back to 2019, when he managed to finish on the third step of the final podium behind youngsters Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart, riding constantly on the attack. The latest edition of the Tour of the Alps to date gave the first signal of this new wave of athletes up and coming to change the face of nowadays’ cycling. However, Nibali’s generation is not ready to surrender just yet, and is willing to show it on the Tour of the Alps’ roads.
“Generational turnover is something cyclical, but last year was strange from many points of view – admitted Nibali -. I believe that experience can still be a key factor in a race. Young riders have more energy and explosiveness, while we are better in handling expectations and in the knowledge of our body. This challenge among different generations is something that forces everyone to give his best, and the Tour of the Alps will make no exception”.
Nibali’s experience, combined with the ability to handle pressure, will surely be learning material for Antonio Tiberi, one of the most promising Italian young riders, who at the Tour of the Alps will have one of his first chances to challenge World-class champions. What is certain is that Trek-Segafredo will approach the Euro-regional race attacking, trying to give hard times to every rival, starting from Bernal, Yates, Bardet, Hindley, Carthy, Pinot and finishing to Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana. “At Trek-Segafredo we all know our roles and we are aware that we have to join forces to make it“, clarifies the 2014 Tour de France winner. The other contenders would better watch out.