The winner in 2015 and 2017: “Moment ok, but I’m not super and it’s not” my “path. It would take a perfect day”
When he ran it for the first time – October 15, 2005 – Paolo Bettini won by beating Gilberto Simoni. Vincenzo Nibali closed 79 ° at 8’53 ”. The book that links the Shark to Lombardy has many chapters, and some – the triumphs in 2015 and 2017 – were truly exciting. Participation number 14, today’s one, will in any case be remembered because it will be his last race with the Trek-Segafredo jersey – in 2022 the last year of a glorious career will be with the Astana-Qazaqstan jersey – and in the flagship there will also be former coach Paolo Slongo. Nibali arrives at the heart race pushed by the benevolent wind of last week’s successes at the Giro di Sicilia, when he returned to raise his arms after 797 days. In the eyes of many, this would be enough to consider him if not a favorite, at least a luxury outsider for today. But the Shark’s reasoning is different and it doesn’t seem like putting your hands forward, if anything, a very realistic photograph of a fact: you can’t always ask for miracles, much better to just enjoy it for what it can still give without putting pressure on it. which are increasingly unwelcome.
Nibali, among the favorites are Roglic, Pogacar, Alaphilippe, Evenepoel and …
“I’m not there. I don’t take it, you don’t take me. I’m fine, pretty good, but I’m not super.”
But those successes in Sicily took a ‘monkey’ off your shoulder, don’t you think?
“Yes, and I was happy about it. I have been missing victory for too long.”
And how did you feel in subsequent races?
“At the Tre Valli Varesine on Tuesday, pretty good. I pedaled. At the Milan-Turin on Wednesday, nothing special”.
But ‘his’ Lombardy …
“If I have to be honest, I feel much more my own the track that ends in Como, on roads that I know by heart. Among other things, on the last two occasions when I arrived in Bergamo, in 2014 and 2016 , I did not participate. I studied this path mainly on paper “.
What did he think of it?
“There are different and longer climbs than the classic one. It will be a very demanding race. The finish is unpredictable and attacks from a distance cannot be ruled out.”
Realistically, where can he go this time?
“I don’t know, and I don’t want to deceive myself. I will certainly arrive with the lights off. To be able to stay with the best, a perfect day would be needed. We in the team also have someone like Bauke Mollema who won in Como two years ago.”
However, she has always had a special consideration for this race. Why?
“Ever since I turned pro, he struck me, impressed me with history and hardness. I have always tried to do everything possible to be at the start and when I was not there I was sorry, more than for other races”.
How do you rate the favorites landscape?
“Those with a great lap like the Vuelta in their legs, even if it finished in early September, could have an advantage if they managed to keep their condition constant. What Roglic has been doing in the last few days has been a clear example of what I am doing. saying”.
What role does tactics play?
“You have to look at Lombardia as a race in which there is not a single key moment, but a series of key moments. Ghisallo arrives soon, but you understand if you are well or not.”
Let’s close with a memory: is it true that Lombardy had frightened you the first time?
“Maglia Fassa Bortolo, I was a neoprofessional. The words I took from Giancarlo Ferretti, the uncertain weather, the goal that never came. And the tough climbs. San Fermo della Battaglia seemed like the Zoncolan to me. Yet I reached the end and I was happy” .
“Lombardia is one of those races in which there is no need to find motivation. You already have it, it comes naturally.”
9 October – 08:05
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Nibali: “I’m here with the headlights off. Where will I arrive? My legs know it”