With the start of the most important race of the year, the world's eyes are focused on France and the battle between the Fabulous Four: Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana. Until now, Nibali has been more anonymous than his rivals but he is ready to strike.
Before riding his national championships and start his title defense at the Grande Boucle, he shared his thoughts about the big event in an interview with Ciclismo Internacional.
Known for his aggressiveness, Nibali has changed his approach by focusing fully on a single race. In the past he was consistent from the February to October but in the last two years he has had poor spring seasons.
"My form is growing and this week I will do the national championships in Italy," he said. "My intention is to retain the title so I'm going for the win like I did in 2014."
Nibali recognizes that this year's Tour de France will be very complicated, not only because of the presence of his strongest rivals, but also because of the design of the first week.
"Everyone wants to win the Tour and this time it will be much more complicated than that in 2014. The pave, time trial, climbs, descendt are factors that complicate our options. Moreover, having recognized stage 4 (Seraing-Cambrai), the pave will be decisive and I think I can make a difference there."
The leader of the Kazakh team makes it clear that his goal is to win, but it is not an obsession: "I have said many times that I want to win the Tour, but I also said that, for me, it would not be a failure if I am beaten.I am not obsessed. I'll do my best in the race and see how I'm feeling."
However, to win the Grand Boucle he will face the best riders of which some have different characteristics than the Italian. Contador, Quintana and Froome stand out and plan to take advantage of all his weaknesses.
"We all know what those three riders represent but I beat them in 2014. I was leading the race when they were still there. Contador is a champion and he showed that in the Giro, so his performance never surprises me. Quintana and Froome are also champions and we know where they can do damage. We will see."
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