Vincenzo Nibali (Messina, 1984) meets MARCA while enjoying the II Giro Ride Like a Pro Tenerife. On the island where he prepared his great cycling exploits, the Italian analyzes the hottest topics in the sport that elevated him. The competition is over, but Nibali’s bike doesn’t stop.
To ask. It’s been a year since I hung up the bike after Il Lombarda, is everything going as I expected?
To respond. All is well. I thought I would have more time, but I have a lot of important events and I don’t have much time to think about what I could do.
Q. We are in Tenerife, an island that Nibali knows well.
A. There were many concentrations here. I came for the first time in 2007 with Liquigas and then with Bahrain Merida, with Astana… the great successes of my career were achieved with stages in Tenerife.
Q. Focusing on the present, what has Jumbo’s dominance been like in 2023?
A. I didn’t think it would be this dominant, but I know I thought it would be possible. Year after year they have raised the bar, but winning the big three with three different drivers is very difficult and I think it is unrepeatable.
It will be difficult for Jumbo to repeat the same successes in 2024
Q. How can we put an end to this yellow “tyrant”?
A. As I said, I think it will be difficult for them to repeat these successes in 2024. Certainly the changes that have occurred in the team, such as Roglic’s departure or Kuss’ promotion, could change their dynamics. It is the number 1 team, but the UCI classification was won by UAE Team Emirates.
Pogacar must have braver runners to support him to beat Jumbo
Q. When did you see Kuss. in red, attacked by his companions in Angliru, what did he think?
A. I have a space on Twitch with Lalo Ferrara and Pozzovivo and we discuss the subject. Sepp Kuss was going to win LaVuelta and only breaking the balance could change that. Seeing a Vingegaard attack before Angliru… Must have been a bomb on the bus. It’s a complicated situation for everyone.
Q. Some say they gave LaVuelta to Kuss
A. Kuss deserved this victory, there’s no doubt about that. He did the three big ones in one year, I think now he has the goal of winning one big one and can do it again. People think not, but I believe so.
I think Kuss can win a Grand Tour again
Q. You mentioned UAE Team Emirates earlier, what should they do to beat Jumbo?
A. There must be braver runners to support Pogacar. He arrived at the Tour marked by a wrist injury and we saw what happened. It’s a complicated injury.
Q. How do you see the reality of Spanish and Italian cycling at the moment?
A. It’s a difficult time. World Tour teams have very high budgets: United Arab Emirates and Jumbo have 35 million, Ineos a little more… finding sponsors at that level is very difficult and it won’t be easy to get out of there.
Spain and Italy are going through a difficult time when it comes to cycling
Q. The last great Spanish Vueltaman is Enric Mas, but we see that the Tour is becoming increasingly difficult for him. Do you think a change of goal, like focusing on the Giro, could be good for you?
A. The big three are very different. The Tour is the most complicated because it is a war every day. I think for Enric Mas a Giro d’Italia would be perfect for him. It’s similar to LaVuelta and can provide a great level.
Q. On paper, in 2024, it looks like a less intense Giro than other editions
A. Anyone who knows the Giro knows that this is not the case because it is highly technical and everything can change. There will be a fight from the first week. In 2023 we saw a different Giro that in the end was decided by the cold, the rain, the Lussari time trial… it was difficult to make a prediction. This new Giro presents a very technical route that will surprise you.
Fr Miguel Indurín told us in an interview that this new generation of cyclists will not have a long career due to their explosive way of approaching racing.
A. I think the same as Miguel. For young people now reaching their 20s, a career at the top can last 10 years. When you reach peak form it becomes difficult to maintain it and they compete for everything. It’s normal.
Q. We end with a classic, who is stronger, Pogacar or Vingegaard?
A. Right now it’s both and the rest… The difference between the two is small. Vingegaard is one step ahead. What he did in the Tour time trial was impressive.