Sant’Anna di Vinadio - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)  pictured during  stage 20 of the 99th Giro d’Italia 2016 from Guillestre to Sant’Anna di Vinadio 134 km - foto LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016
  • bigdo

    Nibali has his detractors… today he looked every bit the amazing Italian champion and climber that he’s hyped to be. Grande giro campione , grande giro.

    • Steel

      Headline: Astana rider resurrects grand tour performance after final rest day.

      That’s all that needs to be said.

      • bigdo

        lol.. whatchu you sayin Steel? I mean.. what are you REALLY saying?

        • Steel


        • Michele

          Steel is saying he doesn’t like Nibali because he rides for Astana.

          And because Nibali won, he’s upset.

          • bigdo

            lol, that and he was throwing major shade in terms of insinuating that Nibali doped or something in the off day… one never knows… lol

          • Steel

            I personally think there is something very suspicious with team vino/Astana. Don’t know what you think?

            I generally disregard their results

      • Dave

        Well, it did at least save us from ‘ex-USPS rider wins Giro as sporting director’ or ‘Giro heralds team’s return to the glory days of Rasmussen and Menchov.’

      • LuBAr

        Dont forget the “tests”. I think skmething similar happened to another high profile Astana rider… horrible performance then went and smashed everybody to won the stage…..

        • Neuron1

          If you actually analyze it, Nibali made up only 1 minute over 20 km on the breakaway group. That is 3 seconds/km, for those of you who are mathematically impaired, on the stage winner who was in the break for something like 80 km and over 4000 meters of elevation gain. That certainly doesn’t fit the profile of doping, so give it a rest.

          • Michele

            And Nibali actually lost 20 seconds to Uran and Valverde on the last 3km climb.

            He gained 12 seconds on Chaves on the same climb.

    • choppy

      Vinikourov at the finish was sickening.

  • Nathan

    Yes he did, but the rest of the tour he looked tired and sub par. Not sure how to explain such a huge turnaround in form without reference to outside assistance. Like Mulder says “I want to believe”.

  • Ajh

    Haven’t seen such as awesome turnaround since stage 17 2006 TDF, congrats Nibs I believe!

    • Saeba R.

      Calling people drug cheats on an internet forum is pretty low. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Ajh

        Hi Mrs Nibali, you should be so proud of your son. You should be ashamed of yourself for singling out me when there are a number of posts here that question the result. In fact why don’t you go on a 5-10 year retroactive shaming mission for all grand tour posts where results are questioned, you will be busy…

        • Saeba R.

          I’m ashamed of myself for getting drawn into an argument who thinks calling me “Mrs Nibali” is witty.

          I’m ashamed that my sport, which used to celebrate all winners, now sees people like you who developed bias based likely based on preconceived and inaccurate notions of the world.

          I’m ashamed of people in society who think that because others do something it is ok.

          I’m ashamed you belong to the same sport as me. Take up Football instead.

  • toffee

    so if Steven Kruijswijk won would people conclude it was doping. give Nibali benefit of doubt. He improved through the tour, isnt’ that what they try to do. Seems to me is it was a well executed plan

    • Ajh

      I don’t disagree, but it’s like 2 heavyweight fighters in the 12th round throwing tired punches, trying to stay upright, Nibali has come out fighting the last 2 days like its the first round., the difference between him and others should be questioned I didn’t really care who won to be honest, but time and time again when a rider does something incredible, it usually isn’t. Will I stop watching No, I certainly enjoy the spectacle for what it is, doesn’t mean I need to buy into the idea we have left the dark days behind and are watching clean races.

      • Michele

        But was it really incredible?

        Uran finished a handful of seconds down on Nibali on this stage.

        Valverde too.

        Kruijswijk just 90 seconds down on Nibali, riding with a cracked rib.

        In these 2 mountain stages, Nibali gained the following time in his rivals:

        Chaves 2 mins 35
        Valverde 2 mins 37
        Uran 2 mins 37

        Yes, you could argue that Chaves, Valverde and Uran having all the same time losses would suggest that Nibali should’ve been around the same mark.

        But 2.5 minutes on 2 x mountain stages isn’t huge. Definitely not incredible.

        • Dave

          Picking up two minutes over a guy from Astana? Now that was incredible!

        • Rondje

          I sort of agree with Ajh. Your argument seems valid since Chaves obviously got tired so it’s hard to judge Nibali’s times on that. This could be the reason why is attacks worked in the 3rd week, while they backfired in the first 2 weeks. People don’t really get stronger in the 3rd week, only worse and if a rider can keep his level straight without dropping too much you can stand above the rest, bit like Kruijswijk last year in his 3rd week. He had a bad first week and a strong 3rd, the only difference is he shared all his data after the Giro last year and people could see his power stayed on the same level. Being so open about your data makes it easier to believe something. I highly doubt Nibali or Astana would do it, so its partly their own fault that people don’t trust it.

          Now the reason why I have my doubts, is as I said earlier, people don’t get stronger they more likely lose less at the end. But Nibali seem to ride entirely different in the last week which makes me wonder how. His cadans was a lot higher in the last week then it was before, he also seemed to keep his attacks up longer. I want to believe this, and as argued above partly I do. But it would certainly help if everyone gets as transparant as Kruijswijk for example with all his data available on Strava to analyse. Keeping everything in the dark makes it appear a bit shady, just like Sky is always so secretly with their data. And it doesn’t help that they announce that a doctor did a full check on him and the day after he rides like reborn.

          This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy watching it tho. Even if it was hard to watch the last 2 days as Dutchmen I still enjoy an aggressive way of riding and the team tactics with teammates up the road more then the boring Sky train.

          • Dave

            There are too many variables to make any argument about a rider getting stronger in the last week.

            Nibali should have done a better job of rationing his performance to last the whole three weeks while the other GC guys dropped off, given he and Valverde were the only top flight GC guys doing the Giro instead of the Tour.

            His GC position by day from the start to the finish went 16-15-11-6-6-9-8-5-5-5-5-5-3-2-3-4-4-4-2-1 which only says to me that he only had two mediocre days amongst an otherwise fairly consistent performance.

            • Michele

              And did Nibali actually get better as the Giro progressed?

              Or could it be his performance drop off wasn’t as great as his rivals?

              • Rondje

                That’s what I was saying makes the people doubt. You can’t judge that if we don’t have the data. If everyone would share it, we could easily compare and for example see Chaves just dropped allot in the last 2 days.

                • Dave

                  The experience in cycling has generally been that releasing the data does not stop people believing whatever they previously determined they wanted to believe.

                • Michele

                  I don’t think a rider has to share their data.

                  Example: Sagan at last year’s TdF was very strong; everyday.

                  Did he / does he give out his data. He rides for a “suss” team. Granted Bjarne isn’t there anymore, but his reputation is the equal of Vino. Sagan doesn’t draw the same doubters or scrutiny as Nibali which suggests our suspicions are not based entirely on transparency.

                  And I’m not convinced Nibali putting his rides on Strava would silence the doubters. We couldn’t even use a Strava file to determine if a rider hitched a ride with a car in Milano-San Remo or not.

                  Plus, I would argue there is already enough “data” out there to help determine if Nibali’s ride was “incredible” or not. A lot of that data has already been shared in these comments.

              • Dave

                That was my point. As one of only two top flight GC guys in the race (and with the other one struggling at high altitude) Nibali could be expected to have better relative performance (not absolute performance) in the third week. Sure enough, the race came to him in the latter parts

                His ‘difficulties’ earlier on appeared to be mostly a creation of the local media. He really wasn’t going that badly and should not have paid so much attention to the external noise.

                Astana need a more competent PR person. VN himself might well benefit from sitting down for a coffee with Anna Meares and asking about how she withstood the pressure from the British media at the Olympics four years ago to win.

  • LuBAr

    Incredible performance after “tests” to determine lack of performance…. mmm..interesting. sounds like justification of whereabouts….

    • Saeba R.


      Vigilante keyboard warrior. Posses insider knowledge. A perfect and faultless human. Dresses head to toe in black leather at night, but likely for other reasons.

  • Michele

    I really do wonder why a lot of people follow cycling.

    Nibali won, suck it up. Get over it. Or stop watching the sport.

    Kruijswijk was, without doubt, the strongest rider for the entire 3 weeks. Where’s the insinuation against him?

    Heck, the guy finished barely 90 seconds behind Nibali on this stage, and in front of Chaves, whilst riding reportedly with a cracked ribbed.

    Regardless of how well Nibali rode these past 2 days, the fact remains that if Kruijswijk hadn’t have crashed, he would’ve been wearing Pink into Torino.

    And just like Nibali, I can play the 6 degrees of separation and link Kruijswijk to doping. (You can do so with anyone in the peloton. Heck Sagan

    • Neuron1

      Michele, yours is one of the few rational analyses of the race, while most of the others are pure nonsensical emotion. Although I’m a Nibali fan, I would have been congratulating who ever won today. It wasn’t that Nibali was so spectacular but that he cracked the others, psychology has a huge role in cycling. The rides by EC and SK were both fantastic and to be cheered. It bodes well for the future of the sport, young talent being developed.

      • Michele

        I just think it’s such a shame.

        Once again the Giro has dished up a great GT. Not that it means anything at all, but it’s won my “best GT of the year award” for the past 3 years. And unless we get a superlative Vuelta (possible) or TdF (very unlikely) it will do so again.

        I reckon the parcours was nearly perfect.

        8 different riders wore Maglia Rosa.

        The racing was aggressive.

        And yet, the average cycling fan has become so cynical about performances that every GT win* must be done through PEDs.

        I’m not naive. Following professional cycling for 25+ years certainly opens one’s eyes. There’s been a lot of unbelievable / incredulous performances in that time. Nibali’s? Whilst impressive, certainly wasn’t incredible.

        * However, if our favourite rider does win a GT, then this accusation is voided.

        • Tour de force Todd

          Great effort by Nibali and apparently one of the secrets to his recovery has been daily acupuncture treatment. Anything that can assist the mind that everything really is ok is very powerful and where the battle is really fought on these super hard mountain stages.

    • Sean

      Krusijwsfeiskiecks winning would have been perfect, imagine what he could do on a decent team.

      • Dave

        The rumour mill has it that he has an envelope from BMC ready to open on August 1, which will allow him to have Richie Porte and TJVG towing him up the hills.

        • Sean

          makes sense, BMC dont have anyone for the grand tours.

          • Dave

            Things will get interesting if they can teach Atapuma to ride a time trial.

            • Sean

              the kid seems to have ADHD, he’s a lost cause.

              • Michele

                Great to watch though.

      • Michele

        I just love his attitude post accident. He put his hand up, no excuses. And was very impressive yesterday.

        He and Chaves been very gracious in the past 48 hours.

        • Sean

          too true, both blokes r champions

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      • roklando

        Tammy, are you saying that Nibali, under the tutelage of unrepentant doper Vino, cheated!?!?!? get a life.

    • martin

      spot on.

    • Tom Wells

      A bit late to the party here (a long weekend away) but thought I’d put in my 2 cents.

      I went to watch the TdF in 2014 (the one where CF crashed out) and although I used to be a massive Nibali fan, it all changed in that tour. When you saw him first-hand at the side of the road, breathing through his nose and dropping everyone you just had to question it. Looks great on TV, but something about him on those climbs made me really suspicious. Being from Yorkshire as well, I saw him compared to CF on Buttertubs (one of the local ‘climbs’) and the same thing. Nibali breathing through his nose while AC and CF were visibly trying.

      Same in the Alps as well (thinking about it, it was a lovely holiday!). In fact, the entire Tour he didn’t even seem to break much of a sweat to me…

      I’m not saying he has doped. Maybe he really was just THAT strong at the 2014 TdF, but I’ve been very wary of him, his team and their results ever since.

      Doesn’t help Vino is in charge though…

  • Michele

    Mate said this on our weekly ride this morning:

    “Gee, CyclingCentral really pushed that whole ‘Chaves is basically an Aussie in Colombian skin’ thing right throughout the Giro. I reckon he took it to heart. His performance overnight was very Greg Normanesque.”

    Very Harsh.

    All seriousness, great post stage interview with him. Can’t help but like the guy.

    • Dave

      The contrast between the professional commentators and the blatant cheerleading of the hosts couldn’t have been more obvious though. I’m all for exaggerated impersonations of Tubby, Heals and Slats, but they should be left to Billy Birmingham.

      Tomo was shameless in the third week, that he is getting away with it would suggest he has come into possession of the compromising Les Murray photos previously held by Anthony Tan.

  • velocite

    Riveting Giro, from the start. Sad for Chaves at the end. The question in my mind is, what happens in the third week of a GT, physiologically, biochemically, whatever. I reckon Chaves knew the night before he was toast the following day. Whether that’s true or not, I thought he looked bad from the beginning of the SBS commentary. He was just in the peloton, team mates still around, but he looked unhappy and was shiny with sweat, almost like he had a fever. I hadn’t seen him like that previously. So what happens? It’s been said that Richie Porte struggles with 3 weeks, but I’ve never seen any ‘science’ to explain the phenomenon.

    Others, by contrast, can get better, or go from hopeless to terrific from day to day. Nibali’s comments post stage suggest he was delighted to discover his legs were good on this stage.

    With Chaves, I wonder whether it was his legs or his engine? Could he have a hunger flatted? I suppose that’s what happened to Cadel when he lost the jersey all those years ago (can’t be bothered looking it up)..

    • Dave

      He did have a fever, but refused to blame it.

      • velocite

        OK, that’s made my day – and Esteban will definitely have his, and more than one, then!

        • Dave

          For sure. There’s absolutely no shame in coming second to a complete rider like Nibali even for a rider who is fully fit.

          There’s other reasons for this result to count more as a victory than anything else. This second place should go some way to helping solve the biggest challenge on OGE’s radar (Orica is unlikely to renew their sponsorship beyond the end of next year) and the team can go shopping for another climbing domestique or two now they have a GC rider worth giving a full team.

          I would not be surprised if they make a couple of changes to their plans for later this year to give Chaves a better shot at winning the Vuelta with full team support. Any plans they have for Caleb Ewan to ride the Vuelta for stage wins should now be dropped (he can focus on the U23 World Championship instead) and Adam Yates shifted from the Tour squad to provide more support for Chaves at the Vuelta.

          The word on 2017 is that the team plans to give Chaves a hitout in front of the home fans at the Tour Down Under, before a season built around the Tour de France.

          • velocite

            That all seems to make sense. Thanks for the post.

          • Tricky Dicky

            I might be wrong but I didn’t think World Tour riders could race the U23 Worlds (or was that the recent rule change that people were whingeing about recently? If so, I agree with them – if you’re World Tour, you’ve made it, so race with the seniors).

            I think Chaves for “Le Tour” should depend entirely on the course that is served up: I can see how the Giro and Vuelta will suit him better – especially next year’s Giro which will probably have all of the classic monster climbs to celebrate 100 years.

            • Dave

              Yes, all U23 riders can now enter the U23 world championship events.

              I support this move, as the previous rule was a blunt instrument which only served as a disincentive for WorldTour teams to invest in building up young riders.

              A better alternative would be a points system to allow a young rider to retain U23 status while gaining a limited amount of experience in pro races – like a ‘P plate’ of sorts. Something like 6pt for a WT tour, 5pt for a HC tour or WT one day, 4pt for a HC one day. Until they hit 100 points, a young rider would be allowed to enter U23 races and swap between the WT/PC team and their linked development team as needed.

              Under that point scale, Caleb Ewan would now be on 79 points (including WT/HC races entered with Jayco-WCA and UniSA-Australia) and therefore approaching an upgrade to full professional status.

      • velocite

        Now I see on Cycling News that he’s been suffering from bronchitis and is on anti-biotics. Since Chaves is an honorary Australian that information should have been here!

        • Michele

          Yep, brave effort by him. And also Kruijswijk.

          Nice running chat between you and Dave. Enjoyed that.

          So just to highlight Nibali’s performance: he put 2.5 minutes into Chaves on those 2 mountain stages. 150 seconds into a rider suffering from Bronchitis.

          But apparently that’s more than enough evidence to prove he was on peds.

          • Neuron1

            You just beat me to the comment about the bronchitis and Nibali’s “incredible” performance. It’s not really that many commenters see PEDs associated with every team, just teams they don’t like or who are a threat to their own favorites. Also, part of winning a grand tour is the ability to preserve your resources for the last week. This was a brutal last week, in classic Giro fashion.

            Astana are in the lower half of the World Tour rankings yet they are all “hopped up on juice” while Sky, just as an example, are consistently in the top 5 and they are clean. Some folks need a reality check before they shoot their keyboards off.

      • Michele

        The year Evans lost the TdF to Sastre – when he was expected to get the minute back in the final ITT; Evans was urinating blood before the time trial: he was so exhausted.

        The time he lost the yellow jersey he cracked his elbow.

  • Dave

    The big news from last night is of course that Keeno and Robbie will be providing the SBS call up until 50km to go every day of the Tour de France this year, before switching to Phil and Paul.

    I guess this would make SBS kind of like Trek-Segafredo – excellent until they hand it over for Nizzolo to finish off the job.

    • Saeba R.


  • roklando

    If only Vino would just disappear.

    • Wil

      This X 1000

      I’m afraid I fall in the camp of an unbelievable performance. Car grabbing aside I want to believe that Nibs is clean but it certainly seemed quite the recovery. What would help massively is getting rid of Vino – a known cheat who in no way should be running a team.

      As mentioned Astana would do well to employ a decent media/pr person but ultimately getting shut of Vino would help enormously in elevating both perception of Nibs performance and pro cycling in general.

  • pedr09

    Would have really enjoyed seeing one of the upcoming guys like Kruijswijk or Chaves win. Lost some for love for Nibs after the car towing incident, the blaming of others and general whinging.

    • Neuron1

      Froome should then be in the same camp; 2010 Giro on the Mortirolo when he hitched a ride on a motorcycle. Seems everyone forgets that incident.

      • Dave

        Didn’t he also get caught in the Vuelta?


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