Teams & Riders Vincenzo Nibali discussion thread

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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.
We were lucky to see the strongest Italian rider of the post-war period after Gimondi: Vincenzo Nibali.

A really great one of this sport.

He was never the strongest on the climbs, not even the strongest in time trials, not fast, very good downhill but perhaps not the best.
But he was at a very high level in all these fields (except perhaps sprinting :D) and thanks to his great intelligence, strength of will and presence in the peloton all year round at almost all the important races, he managed to put together a trophy gallery (the one he showed to Roglic) that, with the exception of the great Felice Gimondi, has no equal among post-war Italian riders, but I say more: has few equal in all the history of this sport (not only Italian riders !!)

To understand how Nibali is a big of this sport:
Only 7 riders in history won all three GTs: Nibali is among them.
Only 5 riders in history won all three GTs and a monument: Nibali is among them.
Only 4 riders in history won all three GTs and more than one monument: Nibali is among them (the others are Merckx, Gimondi and Hinault).


ps: Moser was strongest in classics, but he won only 1 GT (Giro) and only because Giro organizer designed a Giro with few mountains and hundred of TT kms for him.
It's difficult to make comparison with the period until 50s, that was a different world. Coppi, Girardengo etc. are really cycling monuments, but maybe of a different sport :D
 
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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.
Yeah, but Nibali never really seemed to be that bothered about it.
Someone like Gibo always seemed to have a chip on his sholder when it came to Pantani and never managed to get out of his shadow. Cunego was also a victim of that, when he won the 2004 Giro a few months after Pantani's premature death the way he did the Italian media immediatly tried to built him up as the logical successor.
 
We were lucky to see the strongest Italian rider of the post-war period after Gimondi: Vincenzo Nibali.

A really great one of this sport.

He was never the strongest on the climbs, not even the strongest in time trials, not fast, very good downhill but perhaps not the best.
But he was at a very high level in all these fields (except perhaps sprinting :D) and thanks to his great intelligence, strength of will and presence in the peloton all year round at almost all the important races, he managed to put together a trophy gallery (the one he showed to Roglic) that, with the exception of the great Felice Gimondi, has no equal among post-war Italian riders, but I say more: has few equal in all the history of this sport (not only Italian riders !!)

To understand how Nibali is a big of this sport:
Only 7 riders in history won all three GTs: Nibali is among them.
Only 5 riders in history won all three GTs and a monument: Nibali is among them.
Only 4 riders in history won all three GTs and more than one monument: Nibali is among them (the others are Merckx, Gimondi and Hinault).


ps: Moser was strongest in classics, but he won only 1 GT (Giro) and only because Giro organizer designed a Giro with few mountains and hundred of TT kms for him.
It's difficult to make comparison with the period until 50s, that was a different world. Coppi, Girardengo etc. are really cycling monuments, but maybe of a different sport :D
To Moser's credit, the one time he raced the Tour (at a young age) he actually finished inside the top 10, so it wasn't like he was only good because of the tailor made Giro routes of the dark ages.

I feel the most underrated Italian rider of all time is probably Magni, but that probably also has to do with his political views...
 
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.
Your description of Nibali's qualities is impecable, in my opinion. I just want to point out that Pantani's career was destroyed at the half way point and, while it is true at 57 kg he was never going to win Flanders or Roubaix, had his career continued as it was before Madonna di Campiglio monuments like San Remo, Liege and Lombardia were not impossible for him to win. And then, the car that ran into him in 95 took over a year out of his natural developmental trajectory. Again, because of his size, he was never going to have a great tt, unless it was a mtt, although he still pulled out some decent performances in non mtts. Again, without Madonna di Campiglio, who knows how many more GTs he would have won? The Giro certainly several more and probably a Vuelta or two. And a mountainous Tour I think would have gotten him another yellow jersey. The point is that, while I agree with you Nibali ended up with the better record, I'm not so certain this would have been the case (actually I highly doubt it) had Pantani not gone down in 99. At any rate, the feats il Panta gave us were the most spectacular I have ever seen. And I started following cycling in the Hinault era. Thus I think Pantani could express more power in the mountains and, pound for pound, on several other terrains in respect to Nibali, who he was certainly more explosive than.
 
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Nibali also rode masterfully, like a great champion, in some of the biggest races he didn’t win: the prime ones being the Olympic Road Race in Brasil (oh so close) and in the awful conditions of the World’s in Florence. I really thought he would get that one when he was close to the front as they made the final descent from Fiesole. Does anyone recall what happened with him after starting that descent?
 
Remember Kreuziger? Well, he remembers the times he spent with Nibali:

"The crew at Liquigas was great. After the 2010 Vuelta, which he won, eight of the nine people on that roster left the following year. And after that, we always looked for each other at the races and had a few words. And even today, when he's doing well or even when he's not doing well, we're still in touch and we always exchange a few messages. I think he remembers the years we spent together and we can call ourselves friends."

Was he good to train with?

"He was a great talent, and I don't want to say he wasn't the training type, but he had his head up his ass at times in that he didn't quite want to follow spreadsheets or schedules. Everything was easy for him. But I think that changed as the years went on too and he understood that the work had to be done. I'm not saying he didn't train, he certainly did. He didn't like to be told exactly what to do. He put a lot on feel, which worked for him for a long time. So he definitely wasn't one to compete with others in training camps and show whether he was up to it or not. It was more like he was riding his own thing."

Nibali is Sicilian, what is his character?

"On the outside he can seem a bit closed, but when you got to know him he was great, open. He wasn't one, at least when I was there, who required any extra conditions, he had everything the others had. He wasn't a prima donna. With guys like Nibali, you could tell that at the age of 15 they had left their families, moved to Tuscany, where cycling was at a different level and they could race better. So they were taught to look after themselves. They weren't the kind of classic Italians who would be at their mum's by the age of 25. But by being from Sicily, Vincenzo had to take the step that I did when I went to Switzerland. The fact that he became independent and learned how to function on his own made him and others very strong and they weren't so fragile to be thrown off by something, like a lot of other guys."

Was it possible to talk to him in the peloton in the more relaxed moments of the race, or was he more focused on himself so he wouldn't make any mistakes?

"He was definitely one of those guys who preferred to chat and be relaxed rather than just concentrating on the performance all day. But he was also great at riding positionally in the peloton and was always able to break quickly to the front."

Speaking directly to his racing, is he the type of smart cyclist who knows exactly what moment of the day to attack, does he have a feel for racing?

"Absolutely. It's also worth mentioning that he was a great downhill rider, he was really good there, even if he fell sometimes. But he had great technical skills on the descents and he was very mature in the peloton as well. I think it's not always just about one rider, but also about the group he has next to him. To let those people know how he races, how to race with him. He never stayed completely behind, instead he knew that the strength was in the team and when everyone was in front he was there with us."
 
Nibali also rode masterfully, like a great champion, in some of the biggest races he didn’t win: the prime ones being the Olympic Road Race in Brasil (oh so close) and in the awful conditions of the World’s in Florence. I really thought he would get that one when he was close to the front as they made the final descent from Fiesole. Does anyone recall what happened with him after starting that descent?
Ha had crashed during the previous lap and I think he was scared to ride it at full speed.
 
Ha had crashed during the previous lap and I think he was scared to ride it at full speed.


"It doesn't feel like fourth place... I gave everything to get back in after the crash, I didn't even want to get back on the bike because of the beating but then I managed to recover and I tried every way. Valverde did not sprint correctly because he squeezed me on the right. Before that I couldn't close on Rui Costa also because it wasn't my turn with two Spaniards. We will try again. This World Cup was lost by Spain."
 
Nibali also rode masterfully, like a great champion, in some of the biggest races he didn’t win: the prime ones being the Olympic Road Race in Brasil (oh so close) and in the awful conditions of the World’s in Florence. I really thought he would get that one when he was close to the front as they made the final descent from Fiesole. Does anyone recall what happened with him after starting that descent?

That's the infamous 2013 what the heck happened between Valverde and Rodriguez World's. We likely will never know for sure exactly what happened in that race. This is the one with Rodriguez up the road and Valverde in the small lead group. Costa attacked and no one went with him in that moment. Then no one would chase. Exactly why that happened the way it did, who knows and it's unlikely we'll ever get the actual answer.
 
That's the infamous 2013 what the heck happened between Valverde and Rodriguez World's. We likely will never know for sure exactly what happened in that race. This is the one with Rodriguez up the road and Valverde in the small lead group. Costa attacked and no one went with him in that moment. Then no one would chase. Exactly why that happened the way it did, who knows and it's unlikely we'll ever get the actual answer.
Yeah, that was one of my favorite Worlds to watch with many of the riders I like with a chance and the monumental struggle with the elements. But the last few kilometers remained a mystery.
 
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Tuttobiciweb on what's next for Nibali:


Barring surprises, no Tour. After the Giro, the Italian championships, then off to prepare for the Vuelta and the season finale with the idea of attaching the number on his back for the last time at the Tour of Lombardy.

Vincenzo wants to leave saying goodbye to everyone and is thinking about organizing a party. Obviously the idea is still embryonic, but it could take place in Mastromarco - Vincenzo's first cycling home when he left Sicily - on November 14, his 38th birthday. They are thinking of a whole day dedicated to cycling, with activities for children and for the boys of his youth team, followed by a criterium with friends and rivals, including Alberto Contador and Chris Froome.

For sure, biking will remain at the center of Vincenzo's world, and he may even measure himself in mountain biking, which he has always loved, and there is even a date, Saturday, October 15, could see him starring in Capoliveri, on Elba Island.

Here, a nice short from Astana in Sicily:


View: https://twitter.com/AstanaQazTeam/status/1525047888996450304?t=6XgYc67SE4QJgre_4kYVEQ&s=19
 
Tuttobiciweb on what's next for Nibali:


Barring surprises, no Tour. After the Giro, the Italian championships, then off to prepare for the Vuelta and the season finale with the idea of attaching the number on his back for the last time at the Tour of Lombardy.

Vincenzo wants to leave saying goodbye to everyone and is thinking about organizing a party. Obviously the idea is still embryonic, but it could take place in Mastromarco - Vincenzo's first cycling home when he left Sicily - on November 14, his 38th birthday. They are thinking of a whole day dedicated to cycling, with activities for children and for the boys of his youth team, followed by a criterium with friends and rivals, including Alberto Contador and Chris Froome.

For sure, biking will remain at the center of Vincenzo's world, and he may even measure himself in mountain biking, which he has always loved, and there is even a date, Saturday, October 15, could see him starring in Capoliveri, on Elba Island.

Here, a nice short from Astana in Sicily:


View: https://twitter.com/AstanaQazTeam/status/1525047888996450304?t=6XgYc67SE4QJgre_4kYVEQ&s=19
Maybe finally he can show Rogla The Cabinet.
 
I'll wait until his final race to say my farewells and sing his praises. Until then I'll watch, enjoy and hope for a fairytale ending like his 3d Lombardia.

At my age I've seen many of my favs arrive, rule the stage, and depart with a sense of loss and sadness. I've loved them all and Vincenzo will Always have a place in my heart alongside the others who have stolen it over the decades.
 
Tuttobiciweb on what's next for Nibali:


Barring surprises, no Tour. After the Giro, the Italian championships, then off to prepare for the Vuelta and the season finale with the idea of attaching the number on his back for the last time at the Tour of Lombardy.

Vincenzo wants to leave saying goodbye to everyone and is thinking about organizing a party. Obviously the idea is still embryonic, but it could take place in Mastromarco - Vincenzo's first cycling home when he left Sicily - on November 14, his 38th birthday. They are thinking of a whole day dedicated to cycling, with activities for children and for the boys of his youth team, followed by a criterium with friends and rivals, including Alberto Contador and Chris Froome.

For sure, biking will remain at the center of Vincenzo's world, and he may even measure himself in mountain biking, which he has always loved, and there is even a date, Saturday, October 15, could see him starring in Capoliveri, on Elba Island.

Here, a nice short from Astana in Sicily:


View: https://twitter.com/AstanaQazTeam/status/1525047888996450304?t=6XgYc67SE4QJgre_4kYVEQ&s=19
So Valverde and Nibali will end their careers at the same race. That's going to be special. Really, really special.
 
Hmm, Gilbert's potential presence there would probably only be ceremonial. Valverde and Nibali can actually do something in the race. But of course, Gilbert is a double former winner so he probably wants to finish there, too.

Yeah, that would be beautiful.

It's actually a very long time since we have had such big names retiring. I would say we have to go back to 2017 with goodbyes to Contador and Boonen.

The biggest retired riders since then must be Cunego, Kittel, Greipel, Tony and Dan Martin and Gerrans.
 
Hmm, Gilbert's potential presence there would probably only be ceremonial. Valverde and Nibali can actually do something in the race. But of course, Gilbert is a double former winner so he probably wants to finish there, too.

Yeah, that would be beautiful.

It's actually a very long time since we have had such big names retiring. I would say we have to go back to 2017 with goodbyes to Contador and Boonen.

The biggest retired riders since then must be Cunego, Kittel, Greipel, Tony and Dan Martin and Gerrans.
So easy to forget Dan Martin and Gerrans were double monument winners tbh. Kittel just announced he was retiring without a goodbye race. Cunego is a strange one because in his prime he was legit one of the best in the world but he spent so many years in pro conti purgatory afterwards.

None of these guys 'felt' like era defining riders to me. Maybe Cunego because his prime was laregly before media got so big.
 
Nah, hell no, Cunego aint even close IMO to the likes of Valverde, Cancellara Nibali, Contador, Boonen and Gilbert. Didnt the guy only really have like 1 prime year? I know he won a few big classics after 2004, and 2 Lombardias, but not close to the legends of the sport..
 

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