Following the same pattern which preceded his 2010 Vuelta success, his 2013 victory in the Giro d’Italia and his 2014 win in the Tour de France, Vincenzo Nibali has confirmed the decision to begin his season in the Tour de San Luis.
The Italian rider first competed in the race back in 2010 and took the overall title. Months later he won the Vuelta a España, his first Grand Tour crown.
He missed out on the race this season, getting things underway in the Dubai Tour. It may be unconnected, but things didn’t work out in his Grand Tour campaigns. He was fourth overall in his Tour defence and was then disqualified from the Vuelta after being towed by his Astana team car after a crash.
Returning to the Tour de San Luis will, he hopes, see him hit the top step of the podium again.
“I’m really happy to go back to San Luis after I missed that last edition” he said. “It’s a race that I love so much, I attended five times. That gave me big satisfaction, above all when I won in 2010.”
Also taking part will be Nairo Quintana (Movistar), runner up in the 2013 and 2015 Tours de France and winner of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, as well as world champion Peter Sagan, Rafal Majka (both Tinkoff-Saxo), Fernando Gaviria, Tom Boonen (both Etixx – Quick-Step), Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) and Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and defending champion Dani Díaz,
Nibali will once again target the Giro d’Italia in 2016, but could also ride the Tour de France. Despite his 2014 win, he might end up having to support team-mate Fabio Aru there, although that decision will likely be made much closer to the event, if not during it.
The priority is to be in the best shape possible, and that build-up will begin in Argentina.
“I’ll get San Luis some days before the start of the race to train with calm” he said. “The roads, the climate and the environment make of San Luis the perfect place for my debut.”