Teams & Riders Vincenzo Nibali discussion thread

Page 745 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Lo squalo dello stretto,

With your approaching retirement I have to say goodbye to the last and maybe even only real cycling favorite I had during my years as a teenager. During your first years at Liquigas you were mostly still a name of a huge prospect to me, riding in one of the most amazing jerseys the cycling world has ever seen. The first real memory that I have about you at this point in my life stems from the Giro in 2010.

You were still the Il giovane to the maestro Ivan Basso, but you took the pink early on in the race. I was so excited already, and then came one of my favorite races of all times with stage 7 to Montalcino. Until this day, whenever you ask me about an epic race, that will be the race that comes to mind first. You crashed, you lost the pink, but for the first time I really saw the grinta that would characterize you for the entirety of your career. In the same year, after podiuming the Giro alongside Basso you also managed to win the Vuelta. A very strange Vuelta with guys like Velits and Mosquera also on the podium. But there was one certainty, the winner of this edition was going to be a super star.

In the years that followed I loved the green Liquigas jersey more and more. Together with Sagan and Moreno Moser you created the most exciting team for me in the whole of cycling. Whenever I started a career on some silly game I would make sure to pick Liquigas, because my favorite shark was in the team.

Then came the years of the Skybots, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, and I was afraid we would go into an era of boring cycling again (well maybe we did, but for romance sake i'll say we didn't). But in 2014 the French came up with one of their best choices in the history of the world. They introduced a cobbled stage in the Tour de France and once again you were the center of attention in a remarkable stage. You dominated that Tour like only the Shark from Messina could, and I was following you with the passion of an Italian tifoso every day of the week. Che Amore!

Maybe that was the best Nibali I ever saw, but I am not sure anymore. What I am sure about is what followed, the young shark turned into one of the most experienced riders of the peloton. And with that experience came your ability to enter your opponents heads on the most vital times. This combined with your descending ability has made so many mothers weep, and made so many riders ride with fear in their heart. But most of our hearts were filled with joy when once again we saw you flying down those mountains.

In the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018 you put the crown on your career by winning Il Lombardia and Milano - San Remo. Especially in San Remo you wrote history again by setting another example. This race was mostly a sprinters race, but you, being the smart rider that you are set your mind to it and you went down the Poggio full gas and you didn't even need a dropper post to win it! Oh, what an achievement to also win this last great race within your own country!

Maybe after that you were declining a bit already, although we cannot be sure. Your mano a mano with Roglic was impressive still, so maybe it was only a mistake to give Carapaz so much space. But maybe, being the big champion that you are you considered the situation and let Carapaz win because Ecuador needed a champion. In 2020 you started well, better than in past years even and you lighted up our hearts with hope. But then this stupid pandemic came, and after that we didn't see the same Vincenzo again.

Lo Squalo, I sincerely hope, that after todays announcement we will see one final act of greatness from you. Maybe you can win a stage in this Giro, but even more fitting would be to see you shine in Il Lombardia again. To see you put pressure on your opponents in the climbs and in the downhills once more while the falling leaves mark an end to your amazing career. You brought me so much joy. Thank you Vincenzo.
 
Dear Vincenzo,
I learned to appreciate you in that 2010 Giro when you rode alongside Basso.

I'll never forget what you did on that Arenberg stage in 2014, while wearing the yellow jersey.
I'll never forget that 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico stage when you went on a 2 men powertrip with Sagan and beat Froome for the gc.
I'll never forget your 2015 Lombardia win, descending like a mad man.
I'll never froget your 2017 Lombardia win, when you crushed everyone with pure strength, Big Tex style.
I'll never forget your 2018 MSR win, pure panache.

Grazie Vincenzo.
 
I have been reading the comments on Nibali's career that he was, after Gimondi, the most successful Italian cyclist. Yet, with no disrespect, Pantani was something else.
Even if you don't consider the prehistory of the sport... the most successful Italian rider was the Campionissimo, Fausto Coppi.
Then there is Bartali.
And then perhaps we can discuss Gimondi, Nibali, Pantani, Moser, etc.
 
Nibali was the reason why Italian cycling stayed relevant for so long when everything pointed to a steady decline of the movement and when most other riders here had clinic issues. We had a champion to cheer for, and a very brave one. Not the kind of raw talent you could see in Pantani but someone who wouldn't give up, who would respect the Monuments as the GTs, who would (mostly) look human.

At the end of the year I'll make a top10 of his best ever races. For now I'll keep treating him as an active rider and hope he can win a stage in the Giro.
 
Nibali was the reason why Italian cycling stayed relevant for so long when everything pointed to a steady decline of the movement and when most other riders here had clinic issues. We had a champion to cheer for, and a very brave one. Not the kind of raw talent you could see in Pantani but someone who wouldn't give up, who would respect the Monuments as the GTs, who would (mostly) look human.

At the end of the year I'll make a top10 of his best ever races. For now I'll keep treating him as an active rider and hope he can win a stage in the Giro.
Well said. The hunt for The Last Bag is still on.
 
Agree. Not a good enough all around rider and didn't dominate GT's enough (at least in terms of total victories) to rate alongside Nibali.
The question is whether you rate overall palmares or peak performance higher.

Pantani 1998 & 1999 certainly was on another level than Nibali at any point of his career.

Vincenzo certainly has a way more decorated palmares though.

Eventually success isn't everything. Pantani is the Tupac of cycling.
 
Guess I wasn't around for Pantani but I wouldn't put him close on that list.

I guess if I make my take any hotter I don't ever get to enter Italy again
For Italians I guess Pantani is high on the list, for everybody else not so much. Nibali missed one Giro (that one..), one Liege (that one...) or Lombardia (congrats Pino) and the gold in Rio (just 11 km...) to be the Gimondi of our times.
 
Even if you don't consider the prehistory of the sport... the most successful Italian rider was the Campionissimo, Fausto Coppi.
Then there is Bartali.
And then perhaps we can discuss Gimondi, Nibali, Pantani, Moser, etc.
I was misunderstood and was quoting a statement that had to do with chronology, not absolute rank. Naturally il Campionissimo Coppi goes down as first on the list, but the quote remarked that Nibali was the best since Gimondi's time.

For those that were not yet following cycling during Pantani's career, I said he was something else because literally he was. When he won the Tour in the way he did with his legendary attack on the Galibier, he had an entire nation watching on TV, even those that were not strictly speaking cycling fans. In fact, the way Marco attacked and won in the mountains, even before his Giro and Tour double made him literally a living legend in Italy. Nibali never had that status, nor were his victories so appreciated. When Pantani destroyed Indurain on the Mortirolo, making him lose a Giro that would have been his third, one commentator said it was like watching a bull charging up the mountain. Then his disasterous fall in 95 to then come back and set the record time climing Alpe d'Huez at the 97 Tour had folks in Italy cheering as if it were the national team winning the World Cup. And what Pantani was doing at the 99 Giro, until his demise at Madonna di Campiglio, was the stuff of an il Campionissimo for Italians. Davide Casani said he never saw anbody climb like Pantani. When Pantani fell, Italian cycling as a national movement never entirely rebounded, despite what Bettini, Basso and then Nibali achieved. Everybody knew that when on his game, Pantani was simply the strongest climber in the world and one of the greatest, if not arguably the greatest, climbers of all time. He was simply irresistable in the mountains, an aspect of the sport Italians admire most, when in top form. Nibali has never been of that caliber, despite a phenomenal career. Peak Contador and Froome were superior to peak Nibali. Nibali is incredibly resourceful and longevous and probably achieved more on his talent than almost arguably anybody in the history of the sport, but he never was truely the top rider in any discipline the way Pantani was. Sorry for the rambling on and no disrespect to lo Squalo.
 
Last edited:
I was misunderstood and was quoting a statement that had to do with chronology, not absolute rank. Naturally il Campionissimo Coppi goes down as first on the list, but the quote remarked that Nibali was the best since Gimondi's time.

For those that were not yet following cycling during Pantani's career, I said he was something else because literally he was. When he won the Tour in the way he did with his legendary attack on the Galibier, he had an entire nation watching on TV, even those that were not strictly speaking cycling fans. In fact, the way Marco attacked and won in the mountains, even before his Giro and Tour double made him literally a living legend in Italy. Nibali never had that status, nor were his victories so appreciated. When Pantani destroyed Indurain on the Mortirolo, making him lose a Giro that would have been his third, one commentator said it was like watching a bull charging up the mountain. Then his disasterous fall in 95 to then come back and set the record time climing Alpe d'Huez at the 97 Tour had folks in Italy cheering as if it were the national team winning the World Cup. And what Pantani was doing at the 99 Giro, until his demise at Madonna di Campiglio, was the stuff of an il Campionissimo for Italians. Davide Casani said he never saw anbody climb like Pantani. When Pantani fell, Italian cycling as a national movement never entirely rebounded, despite what Bettini, Basso and then Nibali achieved. Everybody knew that when on his game, Pantani was simply the strongest climber in the world and one of the greatest, if not arguably the greatest, climbers of all time. He was simply irresistable in the mountains, an aspect of the sport Italians admire most, when in top form. Nibali has never been of that caliber, despite a phenomenal career. Peak Contador and Froome were superior to peak Nibali. Nibali is incredibly resourceful and longevous and probably achieved more on his talent than almost arguably anybody in the history of the sport, but he never was truely the top rider in any discipline the way Pantani was. Sorry for the rambling on and no disrespect to lo Squalo.
This is a fair assessment.
I'd argue that Nibali was less appreciated partly because of the way Pantani went down. Cycling never rebounded, as you say, and an amazing champion like him never got the credit he deserves.
 
Reactions: Cookster15
This is a fair assessment.
I'd argue that Nibali was less appreciated partly because of the way Pantani went down. Cycling never rebounded, as you say, and an amazing champion like him never got the credit he deserves.
Again, nothing to take away from Nibali, but there was just something mythic about Pantani. The Romagnolo did things in the mountains that were legendary. He had carsima in a melancholic, even tragic way, despite being introverted and mistrustful of the press and organizations. And, like I said, he made people watch cycling who were not even tifosi. Nibali was less appreciated, unfortunately because he didn't enflame peoples' passions the way il Pirata did. He didn't do the same exploits either.
 
Again, nothing to take away from Nibali, but there was just something mythic about Pantani. The Romagnolo did things in the mountains that were legendary. He had carsima in a melancholic, even tragic way, despite being introverted and mistrustful of the press and organizations. And, like I said, he made people watch cycling who were not even tifosi. Nibali was less appreciated, unfortunately because he didn't enflame peoples' passions the way il Pirata did. He didn't do the same exploits either.
I agree. Pantani was a 57Kg David who beat Goliaths like Jan Ullrich at his best. Nibali is a more normal size and wasn't a reclusive personality. People were drawn to Pantani as an underdog at a time when big powerful riders like Indurain and Ullrich dominated. But as others above said I put Nibali ahead of Pantani simply because Nibs was a better all round rider. Marco was the best climber in history, and frankly I wish some newer fans who fawned over Contador were old enough to see Pantani at his best - they should rewatch stage 15 of 98 TdF which is the most incredible "exploit" I have ever seen in cycling. It is a measure of Pantani's effect on me that I am always compelled to write about him when he is mentioned in comments. But no question that Nibali has the better record and was a better all round cyclist.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY