Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) has raced the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same year on two previous occasions, but his coach Paolo Slongo maintains that neither instance provides any real pointers as to his chances of pulling off the double in 2019.
“This is the first time that we’re really aiming to do well in GC in both the Giro and the Tour, and the information from those precedents isn’t of much use,” Slongo told Cyclingnews.
“The data from more recent years is of more interest. We’ve done the Tour and Vuelta – which is a bit similar – so we have some data from that. But even in those years, Vincenzo had started racing in January. In 2019, we’re starting later and hoping to have more energy for the Grand Tours, so it’s different.”
The 23-year-old Nibali who placed 11th at the 2008 Giro and 20th at his debut Tour is, in other words, a very different athlete from the veteran who, over a decade on, will make a concerted attempt to win both races next year.
In purely physical terms, the Nibali of 2016 was rather more similar to the current vintage, but his Giro and Tour were raced in another context. After winning the Giro with a dramatic fightback in the Alps, Nibali used the Tour simply as preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics road race that followed.
“2016 was different because it was the year of the Olympics and we were at Astana,” Slongo said. “Vincenzo had won the Giro and the team wanted to focus on Fabio Aru at the Tour. Vincenzo was able to go there and give him a hand, but also build for the Olympics. So the approach was different then.”
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