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" I notice that riders who were ahead of me at the Dauphiné are behind at the Tour. Last year I won the Giro, I came second at the Vuelta and I beat Froome and Contador at almost all the races I did with them.”

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ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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JAKOB FUGLSANG

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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19.07.2014 @ 21:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Vincenzo Nibali again proved his superiority in today's stage of the Tour de France and extended his lead over Alejandro Valverde to almost five minutes. With the overall win almost decided, attention at the pre-race press conference turned to the absence of Alberto Contador and Chris Froome but Nibali refused the suggestion that his win is cheapened, pointing out that he beat both riders in 2013.

 

Vincenzo Nibali again proved that he is in a class of his own when he attacked on the climb to Risoul to gain time on Alejandro Valverde. He now leads the Spaniard by almost five minutes and it seems that only disaster can prevent him from winning the race overall.

 

Nibali failed to catch stage winner Rafal Majka but refused the suggestion that he had given the stage win as a gift to the young Pole.

 

“From the team car, I was told: ‘If you still have something in the tank, go for it'. I was looking at gaining some time over Alejandro Valverde," he said. "I heard that he cracked after I left him. Péraud stayed on my wheel and then sprinted! That's cycling I suppose…

 

"In any case, Majka deserves his victory. He's going well. Yesterday he was in the breakaway and today he claimed a beautiful win. I'm happy for him. But I can't say I let him. I don't know if I could have caught him. When I accelerated, he already had good advantage of around 50 seconds. My goal was to gain time over Valverde.

 

"Majka's victory here after he finished 6th in the Giro makes me think that it's possible to do both Grand Tours. I did them both when I was young but now I'm physically much more mature. My challenge for next year might well be to target Giro and Tour but I yet have to talk to my team. When we finish a season, we restart from scratch. It's not excluded that I'll be present at both Giro and Tour next year.

 

"I don't see why my lead at the Tour de France would be less valuable because Alberto Contador and Chris Froome aren't here anymore. Oleg Tinkov said Alberto would be in yellow by now without his crash, we all know Tinkov's temper.

 

"I've gained time in important parts of the race like on the roads of Paris-Roubaix. I feel sorry for what happened to the others. Unfortunately, crashes are part of cycling. It also happened yesterday to my team-mate Jakob Fuglsang who crashed pretty heavily.

 

"All I know is that I worked very seriously with my coach Paolo Slongo. I came here with good form and the intention to fight till the end. I notice that riders who were ahead of me at the Dauphiné are behind at the Tour. Last year I won the Giro, I came second at the Vuelta and I beat Froome and Contador at almost all the races I did with them.”

 

His teammate Jakob Fuglsang who crashed yesterday, got safely through the stage.

 

“When it started to rain on the descent I was afraid for a moment, but I know how to ride a bike," he said. “Physically I am just destroyed. The tendons in my legs are as hard as rocks and my neck, my back and my arms all hurt. But I worked hard today and tomorrow is a flat stage. I should be fine next week."

 

Fuglsang suffered contusions, abrasions, pain and soreness all over his body after an accidental crash on a descent in Friday’s stage 13 when a water bottle accidentally rolled into his front wheel.

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