Nibali attacks uphill to bring race into the Eternal City
Astana Pro Team rider Vincenzo Nibali attacked with 50km to go on Sunday, eager to get away from a peloton that would only slow him down on the narrow and cobbled downhill run into Rome.
Joined by four other riders from opposing teams, Nibali created a sizeable split in the main field of Roma Maxima, a spectacular loop that began early morning near the ancient Roman Coliseum and finished in the same place more than four hours later.
"It was the final climb, and it was the only place to attack, because the descent after that goes all the way into Rome. I attacked on the Campo di Nibali looking for a good advantage. But it was really difficult because the rider ahead of us, who had been in the breakaway, was very strong, and the group behind us was too interested in having a mass sprint," Nibali said.
Nibali's efforts were neutralized just one kilometer from the finish, and teammate Simone Ponzi sprinted from the chasing group to take fifth overall on the day.
After a week that saw the Italian rider contest three one-day events around Italy, Nibali next lines up at Tirreno-Adriatico, a one-week World Tour stage race he won last season.
"The question everybody asks is can I win again? It's a hard race with a lot of great champions coming to the start. I'm content to start with number one on my back. After that we'll see what happens," Nibali said.