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Tour de France champion talks on return to Sicily

Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali says that the doping is “abhorrent,” and it needs to be eradicated from cycling. Speaking at the weekend in his home town of Messina, the Sicilian also said he is aiming for further wins in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, and also has his sights set on the rainbow jersey.

Nibali was back in Sicily to speak at Messina’s theatre at an event to raise funds for the Friends of Edy, the local branch of a nationwide muscular dystrophy charity, which he has joined for charity rides for five years now.

Asked about the use of drugs within the peloton, something that has seen the winners of nine editions of the Tour de France stripped of their titles in the decade and a half since the first of Lance Armstrong’s seven victories in 1999, Nibali was unequivocal.

"Doping is abhorrent, I hope we’ll be able to eradicate it in our sport and in others,” he said. “With the biological passport we have agreed to be subject to continuous random checks and rightly so. We must set an example to all," he went on, quoted in Italian daily La Repubblica.

Speaking of joining Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Alberto Contador as a winner of all three Grand Tours, he said “it was a great feeling” to add the Tour de France title to his wins in the Giro and Vuelta.

"They are three very different races with very different routes: we have our legendary ascents in the Dolomites or in Trentino where there were fantastic races like those involving Bartali and Coppi.

“The Tour is the oldest race and then there's the Vuelta which is very difficult also because it is at the end of the season and is suitable for great climbers. Each has its own characteristics and difficulties.”

Looking ahead to 2015 and beyond, he said his goals were to aim for further victories in the Tour and Giro, as well as the world championships.

Currently, only Merckx, Hinault and Gimondi have added he rainbow jersey to their victories in the three Grand Tours, but Nibali is determined to join that select club.

Despite leaving Sicily as a teenager for Tuscany to become a professional cyclist, Nibali said he’d never forgotten where he came from.

“I’ve had a lovely journey,” he said. “I left Sicily as a kid, then in Tuscany I developed [as a cyclist] and finally I found success at international level around the world.

“I’ve always kept my roots with me,” he added. “I’ve never forgotten my Sicilian origins.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

14 comments

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marche [83 posts] 1 year ago
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Well… let's wait and see. Honestly, although he is a strong rider, I can't believe he's clean. There are too many hints around pointing in the same direction as when LA was flying.

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Jonny_Trousers [245 posts] 1 year ago
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marche wrote:

Well… let's wait and see. Honestly, although he is a strong rider, I can't believe he's clean. There are too many hints around pointing in the same direction as when LA was flying.

You may turn out to be right, but if you're going to suggest someone's a doper then it's probably only fair you offer evidence. More than, he rode really fast like Lance once did, that is.

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Jonny_Trousers [245 posts] 1 year ago
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marche wrote:

Well… let's wait and see. Honestly, although he is a strong rider, I can't believe he's clean. There are too many hints around pointing in the same direction as when LA was flying.

You may turn out to be right, but if you're going to suggest someone's a doper then it's probably only fair you offer evidence. More than, he rode really fast like Lance once did, that is.

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Simmo72 [584 posts] 1 year ago
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Between 1991 and 2009 I lost all confidence in clean riding, but now you get a different vibe, more openness, more discussion from riders. It has changed, a lot. Yes, you will always get people who attempt to cheat but I think the likes of nibbles and other riders of his generation are riding clean. I just wish he wasn't riding for Astana, I hate that team and it's history, and wish vino could be banished from the sport.......but unlike the Armstrong witch hunt, he seems to have for away with it. Nothing was more crushing than seeing that arse win the Olympic road race, biggest waste of 6 hours of my life.

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Gizmo_ [1333 posts] 1 year ago
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Agreed about Vino and the Olympic road race, that hurt. Especially as Uran made such a hash of 'pretending to look the other way' at just the 'wrong' time. How much did he pay you, Rigo?

Anyway, Nibali. I reckon he's OK. And I hope someone less dodgy wins the Vuelta this year, it's becoming a joke.

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edster99 [334 posts] 1 year ago
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Veino. I wish we could get rid of him. Tosser.

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pwake [374 posts] 1 year ago
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Jonny_Trousers wrote:
marche wrote:

Well… let's wait and see. Honestly, although he is a strong rider, I can't believe he's clean. There are too many hints around pointing in the same direction as when LA was flying.

You may turn out to be right, but if you're going to suggest someone's a doper then it's probably only fair you offer evidence. More than, he rode really fast like Lance once did, that is.

Yes, please tell us more about these 'hints'...

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 1 year ago
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The vuelta feels way more dodgy than the tour to me, some stages in the last couple of years have featured the same rider attacking 5 or 6 times.

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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notfastenough wrote:

The vuelta feels way more dodgy than the tour to me

Absolutely no reasoning behind it, no evidence or proof either but I have the same gut feeling. It just feels like it's all a bit suspect.

Chris Horner's performance last year really didn't help, especially that interview he gave when he seemed smashed off his tits.

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HarrogateSpa [275 posts] 1 year ago
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I agree with some of the other comments. I think Nibali probably is clean, I hope so anyway, but it's tragic that he's riding for Vinokourov's team.

By the way, in the Belgian and Dutch press today, it's reported that Vinokourov is being charged with paying €150,000 for a race win. Obviously the fact that he's charged doesn't necessarily mean he's guilty.

I think the Vuelta is a lost cause. And I'm fed up with Roger Hammond in the studio, who is not prepared to say anything against convicted dopers - that's my impression at least.

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 1 year ago
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I think that riding is 'cleaner', but we are not talking as clean as an autoclave. If we consider the 1990s as a sewer, the 2010s are more like bathing in a stream. It appears to be clean, but you can't tell what lurks below, and sometimes the water appears positively murky.

At the moment what prevents things from being 'shit' to carry on the metaphor, is the blood passport means that riders have to be more careful about how they raise and lower their blood values in order not to raise suspicions by micro dosing. LA knew how to circumvent the process - he knew the key was to get a blood value at a certain time and then set the base point at that. The rider then has to monitor the values to ensure that they don't rise too high or fall too low to arouse suspicion - regular blood monitoring can help with that (did anyone say Sky?) The point is that the lift they get can only be a few points, and so the racing we see is more authentic.

However, as other posters have mentioned, certain places seem to show the process more scrutiny. Spain has a history of being a dopers friend, and we shall have to wait and see what happens late August. Chris Horner's victory was a joke and you could see that on every riders face. I suspect that Nibali did his own Simeone move on Horner when he attacked in the Pyrenees this year, except this was sort of in reverse.

I have my sympathies with the athletes, most probably don't want to dope, but they know that their athletic ability is being trumped by syringes and red eggs. I wouldn't say any of them are clean, but some are cleaner than others....and there is honour amongst thieves as they say.....while Horner may train hard, his age belies his bodies ability in a way that only PED could have done.

Nibali? A talented cyclist, and probably a nice guy. I hope that one day that sentence doesn't sound open ended.

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 1 year ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I suspect that Nibali did his own Simeone move on Horner when he attacked in the Pyrenees this year, except this was sort of in reverse.

It's for stuff like this that we had a 'like' button put on comments  3

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fatty [77 posts] 1 year ago
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farrell wrote:
notfastenough wrote:

The vuelta feels way more dodgy than the tour to me

Absolutely no reasoning behind it, no evidence or proof either but I have the same gut feeling. It just feels like it's all a bit suspect.

Chris Horner's performance last year really didn't help, especially that interview he gave when he seemed smashed off his tits.

The way the Spanish judge binned all the blood bags and evidence from Operation Puerto is the substance behind your (and my) gut feelings I suspect... Spanish sport as a whole lost all credibility when that decision was made in my opinion.

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DrSport [12 posts] 1 year ago
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I don't believe cycling is suddenly clean because one guy (L.A) got caught.