First rest day at the Tour de France: Vincenzo Nibali on the Grande Boucle
The Shark: «I’m pleased but we’ll need to be more creative from now on»
After ten days’ racing at the Tour de France the yellow caravan is finally enjoying a well-earned rest. Liquigas-Cannondale can look back at the first part of the race with a smile: three sensational wins by Peter Sagan made even sweeter by control over the points classifications and the knowledge that team captain Vincenzo Nibali is a serious contender for the GC.
«I came into this Tour knowing that I’d done everything I could to prepare for it, » said Nibali, the Shark, «And so far I’ve managed to get the sort of results and feelings that I’d expected. Only two men have proved to be stronger, Wiggins and Froome, and the gaps between me and other riders are minimal: the predictions that Sky would be in top form were right. But I think the best of this Tour is still to come. We’ve got three stages tomorrow, Thursday and Friday that could do some real damage, as could next week in the Pyrenees. They may seem bombproof but no one is invincible. We need conviction and to try to separate Wiggins and Froome from their teammates then attack them one on one. I’ll be important to play this game with the head and not just go on instinct. »
«The first week was a nervous one and even though there weren’t any climbs we worked very hard to not run any risks. Every effort needs to be measured from now on. I know I’ve got a strong, motivated team with me and together we’ll find a way to invent something major, particularly in the big mountain stages. Ivan Basso will be a fundamental rider for me: he’s riding into a good rhythm and I know he’ll help me to make a difference. There are also opponents in the same situation as me and, if we get the right chance, we could form some form of alliance. There are also some riders further down the GC who might want to try an early break to get themselves back in the game. There are so many variables that can influence and change the race. »
«My philosophy has always been not to build up too many expectations, not to put myself under any undue pressure and take the Tour one day at a time. I’ll try to do the same in the upcoming stages: tranquillity is the key to not making any mistakes. Plus there are the dynamics within the race that can change from one day to the next. My style of racing won’t change. I’m an attacker, someone who tries hard and that’s what I’ll do from here to Paris to get the best possible result and finish without any regrets. »