Stats speak for themselves: before taking every of his grand tour successes, Vincenzo Nibali always raised his arms in Trentino. It happened in 2009 (Trofeo Melinda on the way to Vuelta a Espana), again in 2013 (Giro del Trentino followed by Giro d’Italia) and finally in 2014 (Trofeo Melinda, valid as Italian National Championships, preceding the Tour de France). This would be enough to state that Giro del Trentino Melinda won’t be just a mere stage on the way to the Giro d’Italia for the Italian National Champion, who will hunt for his third overall win at the GS Alto Garda race (he would tie Damiano Cunego’s record) from April 19th to 22nd.
More than ever, this time the #GdTM will prove to be a crucial dress rehearsal for the whole Astana Team: in Trentino, Nibali will be joined by the group of trusted men who travelled with him to the training camp to El Teide (he will return home on April 15th), and who will support him in the fight for the pink jersey, that he will contend to the other top #GdTM favorite, Team Sky’s Spaniard Mikel Landa.
Valerio Agnoli, Eros Capecchi, Estonian Tanel Kangert, Kazakh Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev, Dane Jakub Fuglsang, Davide Malacarne and Michele Scarponi (winner of a Giro del Trentino himself in 2011, and making his race comeback after the injuries suffered at Tirreno-Adriatico) are the men who are set to side Nibali both at Giro del Trentino Melinda and Giro d’Italia.
A strong group of climbing rouleurs, whose qualities will be needed in the Garda Trentino opening time trial, and will then be put to Nibali’s service in the key moments of the three road stages: Arco-Anras, 220 km with an unseen uphill finish, Sillian-Mezzolombardo, 204 km, with Fai della Paganella climb and descent characterizing the finale, and the weary final stage from Malè to Cles (161 km), with the brutal Forcella di Brez ascent.
“Also in 2016, our Giro d’Italia team will pass through the Giro del Trentino Melinda to test the mechanism and target the overall win with Vincenzo Nibali – explained Astana Team trainer Paolo Slongo, who will seat in the team car at #GdTM along with Alexandr Shefer. – “It’s an ideal preparation for us: the date is close to the Giro, it presents a demanding route and offers the chance to compete against some of the top Giro d’Italia opponents, just like Mikel Landa will be this year.”
“It’s a beautiful and well organized race, and we feel at home in Trentino – Slongo added, – Vincenzo really cares about it, and will try to win it for the third time.”
Vincenzo Nibali will also attend the 40th Giro del Trentino Melinda favorites’ press conference on Monday April 18th, also joined by Team Sky’s Mikel Landa and Gianni Moscon.
Foto credits: Daniele Mosna