Liège-Bastogne-Liège wraps up the Northern campaign. Vincenzo Nibali: «It’s the classic I dream of »
The contest for La Doyenne is tomorrow. The “Shark”: «My condition is improving: I want to do the race justice»
Yesterday the team went for a reconnaissance ride over the 90 kilometres from Côte de Wanne to the finish line in Ans. Tomorrow, Sunday 22nd April, is the real thing though and 90 kilometres becomes 252. The Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Doyenne, the oldest of all the classics, is hours away and Liquigas-Cannondale is leaving nothing to chance.
This is Vincenzo Nibali’s seventh Liège-Bastogne-Liège, last year he came eighth, and he’ll be captaining a young line-up featuring Stefano Agostini, Federico Canuti, Damiano Caruso, Moreno Moser, Dominik Nerz, Maciej Paterski and Daniele Ratto. As with the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne, DS Alberto Volpi will head up the team.
«I think this is the classic that best suits my style of riding, » explained Nibali, «Plus it’s my favourite, together with the “Lombardia”, and the one I dream of winning. The route has changed very little in all my years of racing: I’ve had time to study it in detail, and learn its unwritten rules. It has my type of long climbs and a selective finish with the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons which will make the difference: only riders who have still got the legs can conquer it unscathed and make a play for victory. The weather could be the unknown factor on Sunday but my time in the saddle racing and training this week has been ideal for preparing for any situation. I expect to ride a good race, I’m not hiding it but I don’t want to make any assertions. I saw signs of improvement at La Flèche but this is a totally different race. Plus you’ve got to consider the competition: I’m talking about Gilbert, Sanchez and Valverde amongst others, and there is a big group of potential contenders. It’ll be an amazing battle! »