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Vincenzo Nibali: Drugs are "abhorrent" and need to be eradicated from cycling

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.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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