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“For sure what happened at the Vuelta was a serious mistake, even if it was not only my mistake. But it actually was a chance to start all over again. I can now say that being expelled from the Vuelta was a good thing, it helped me fi...







04.10.2015 @ 21:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

"We all had the same legs, it wasn't easy to invent something."


Those were the words of Astana's Vincenzo Nibali after Il Lombardia. Nibali took an impressive solo victory after the whole team had administered the race across Lombardy.


Nibali, helped by Mikel Landa and Diego Rosa, imposed a great pace since the Muro di Sormano and especially before the last two climbs. At the top of the Civiglio, with less than 20 km to go, Nibali pulled out a little advantage which then grew to 40 seconds on the descent towards the finish.


Nibali arrived at the lakeside of Como with a lead of 20 seconds, enough to win this great classic of the international calendar.


"What a fantastic day," he said. "My team was perfect all day and I really wanted to reward them with the win. I tried to get away twice on the climbs, but I was too closely marked and I realised that I would have to try something different, so I had another go on the descent from the Civiglio.


"My team-mates were exceptional, starting with Vanotti and Agnoli early on, all the way to Landa, who was brilliant, and Rosa, who was still strong in the closing kilometres. It was not easy, but we did not relent all race, and I am truly happy now.


"I knew the roads very well because I often train around Sormano, San Fermo and the villages near Lugano. That made it even nicer to win today. On Friday I reconned the race route to study the new race finish, with the innovation of the Civiglio climb followed by San Fermo.


"I liked the idea of a long range attack, because it was a very hard finish which did not suit the really light climbers. I carefully measured the distance from the Civiglio to the finish line, with the descent and then the valley road to the foot of San Fermo. I checked how far apart the climbs were, because I knew that the Civiglio could be the crux of the race.

"I can't explain how I descend the way I do. You either have it or you don't, I think, although, as a descender, Sagan is even crazier than I am: at least I try to keep a margin for error. 


"Everyone knew that I wanted a result today, which meant that I was very closely marked on the way up the Civiglio. We all had the same number of kilometres in our legs, and it wasn't easy to invent a race-winning move, but I managed to come up with something at the top of the descent.


"I was kept constantly aware of what was happening behind me. I built a good lead and I knew the reaction from the chasing group would be strong, but I rode at a very even pace and, once I reached at the top of San Fermo, the ride into Como seemed to go by in a moment.

"I have always wanted to win a big one-day classic, and I've come close in the past. I've always been competitive in one-day races although, since I started concentrating on three-week tours, I've lost some of my acceleration. But when there are very hard climbs, like today, it's easier for a climber like me, and finally to take the win here means a lot to me.


"I've often had good form here, only for a fall or a bit of bad luck to intervene. But now I have won, and I've always said that a win in Il Lombardia is worth a Liège-Bastogne-Liège.


“For sure what happened at the Vuelta was a serious mistake, even if it was not only my mistake. But it actually was a chance to start all over again. I can now say that being expelled from the Vuelta was a good thing, it helped me find some anger.


“I’m satisfied with my season. Things often went wrong but thanks to my mental strength and determination I got things back on track and fought back. My season has ended well because I’ve won a Monument, something an Italian hadn’t done for a long time. It’s team victory because of the work everyone did. Now I hope to finish the season well in Abu Dhabi and then we’ll start thinking about next season.”




“There have been difficult moments this year and not everything went right but I’m proud that I tried to fight back. I think fourth at the Tour de France was actually a good result. The Vuelta incident helped me dig up a lot of anger and I got rid of it on the bike and not in other ways.


"Me and Aru are not fighting with each other because we’ve divided the big objectives and share the pressure. It’s not easy for the team but there are a lot of good, humble riders in the squad. Look at Rosa and even Landa. All the team worked hard today, taking responsibility for the race. This is a team win, so we’re all happy today.”



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