Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) began the Tour of the Alps looking for signs he was on form and ready for the rapidly approaching Giro d’Italia. His sudden attack on the final climb during stage 1 came to little result, but for someone who often prefers to follow his instincts rather than his power metre, it was an important morale boost after weeks of hard training.
The attack with Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky) was eventually closed down by the Astana team, and Nibali finished 17th in the 21-rider sprint. But the Sicilian was happy as he rode back to the Bahrain-Merida team bus in Kufstein.
“I felt good and there was a chance to do something, so I went for it,” Nibali explained to Cyclingnews and La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“My attack was easy to see because my chain jumped when I was out of the saddle and everyone saw me go. But I decided to go for it and see what happened. Sivakov was struggling a bit because he’d made a big effort, but Majka was up for it and so was Geoghegan Hart,” he said.
“Astana quickly got organised behind and so they closed us down. That’s OK, despite being former teammates and friends, we’re still rivals in the race. They’ve got Pello Bilbao who’s on good form, and so they didn’t want to lose any time.”
Nibali has not raced since finishing eighth at Milan-San Remo a month ago. He recently spent two weeks training at altitude on Mount Teide to prepare for the Giro d’Italia and was keen to feel the benefits of the hard work.
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