Vincenzo Nibali: It’s been an intense, difficult week

Winner of the 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico Vincenzo ‘the Shark’ Nibali, admits that his victory was not just down to good form but also massive determination. 

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Thanks to an outstanding performance in the final time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto (stage seven), the rider from Liquigas-Cannondale, overturned a six second deficit on Chris Horner to win by 14 seconds after beating the american by twenty seconds in the final time trial.

“It’s been an intense, difficult week partly because we’ve been playing catch up since the start of the race” Nibali explained after the race. “Making up time puts you under pressure: but me and all my teammates did well not to let it get to us. Instead, we moved forward every day as one incredible team. The win in Prati di Tivo was very important but yesterday’s was probably the crucial stage.”

“Psychologically, it was a blow for my opponents but for me it was the solution for all the challenges I faced. I tried to keep a cool head today because there is no room for mistakes in such short time trials and they’re mainly won with your head. Plus I had a fantastic bike, the new Cannondale Slice RS, which is an amazing bike for these time trials. I’m so happy: I’ve come out of this time trial with my condition improving and when your legs go well, you’re also much calmer inside”.

Today’s victory is the third of 2012, coming after the stage win at the Tour of Oman and the queen stage won on Sunday in Tirreno-Adriatico. It is also the 24th win of Nibali’s career and the fifth successful general classification in a stage race (the Vuelta a España, the Tour de San Luis and the Tour de Slovenie in 2010; and the Giro del Trentino in 2008). Nibali has also achieved two impressive placings in the Giro d’Italia (third in 2010, second in 2011) and seventh place in the 2009 Tour de France.

“Stage races are my calling” added Nibali. “But I think I can also be competitive in the Spring classics. The “Tirreno” was one of the goals for my early season, and now the “Sanremo” and the Ardennes classics are next on the list. I’m in good condition but I obviously need to work hard to stay that way.”

“I want to fine-tune that condition in “La Classicissima” on Saturday. I know I’ve got to come up with something special to win it but tough challenges have always energised me. Plus as Liquigas-Cannondale, we’ve got an extraordinary weapon in Peter Sagan…”

“In April though, I’ll be on terrain more suited to my style of riding but I’ll also be up against super-fierce competition. Finally, I’ll decide with the team management if I’ll race in the Giro d’Italia after Liège-Bastogne-Liège. But we can talk about that at a later date: for now I just want to savour this win and think about more imminent goals”.

Nibali’s win was Liquigas-Cannondale’s twelfth this season but this is the first time in its history that the team (which started in 2005) has won the general classification at the Tirreno-Adriatico. After the celebration for the victory of Vincenzo Nibali at the Tirreno-Adriatico, Liquigas-Cannondale now looks ahead to the first Classic of the season, Milano-Sanremo on Saturday 17th March.

Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Sagan were already on the list, and will be able to call upon the likes Daniel Oss and Elia Viviani as well as Valerio Agnoli, Maciej Bodnar, Kristijan Koren and Paolo Longo Borghini.

“In Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice we saw many contenders in really good shape, and their team the same. Cavendish and Sky, Goss and GreenEdge, Boonen and Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Cancellara and Bennati for RadioShack… as well as them I add some highly-rated riders like Freire, Haussler, Greipel that hide themselves in race.”

“On Saturday, many factors will come into play and we have to be skilful and focused to chose the right moment: we the have riders and motivation to be protagonists in this great race.”


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