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“In principle, my job will be to follow his calendar. If Nibali will do the Giro, my job is to try to be ready to help there."

Photo: ANSA / DAL ZENNARO - PERI

ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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MICHELE SCARPONI

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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24.12.2015 @ 06:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Michele Scarponi is about to start his third season at Astana. The Italian climber has just finished a year in which he failed to win a single race. The last win dates back to 2013 at the GP Costa degli Etruschi but he has played a different role, being a key domestique for Vincenzo Nibali. The veteran expects to be at Nibali’s side in 2016 too.

 

“I am about to start another year,” he told Spaziociclismo in an interview. “The team and I never miss any motivation because we always try to obtain important results. That’s a major reason for us to always give our maximum.”

 

In 2015, Scarponi rode strongly in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco before he turned his attention to a support role for Nibali in the Tour. He used his good post-Tour condition in the Vuelta a Burgos where he was close to the overall win.

 

“If I have to look at the season in terms of my personal results, I obviously cannot be happy,” he said. “But my role was to stay close to Nibali in certain situations, and I think I did that - if not always then in almost all situations. So I'm happy with my year and I'm happy with the way I dealt with the races. Something is missing in my final assessment but it remains positive.

 

At the Tour Nibali started with dossard number one and the whole team started well with memories printed in the mind of what we had achieved last year. However, not every year is the same and even if you do things like in the previous year - if not better – everything does not necessarily go as it should. In 2015 we were simply not ready in the first part of the Tour, physically or mentally, and we also had some bad luck which meant that we had to chase. But I think that a stage win and the fourth place is a good result.”

 

In 2016, Scarponi will have a similar role.

 

“In principle, my job will be to follow his calendar. If Nibali will do the Giro, my job is to try to be ready to help there,” he said.

 

However, there may also be personal opportunities for Scarponi.

 

“The opportunity presented itself this year,” he said. “I am thinking of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco or the Italian championship where I failed to deliver ​​a good performance. This year I could not take the opportunity when I got one. The opportunity may return next year, however, this is not the priority with my role. And if I manage to take a victory, I would be delighted, especially as I haven’t won for some time, but it's not like I am riding to win on a personal level. The goal is to help Nibali and Astana.”

 

With the course for the Olympics being very montainous, it could be a goal for a veteran like Scarponi.


”I think that's the dream of every athlete of any sport,” he said. “However, since it will be held in August, I think the riders coming from the Tour will be slightly favored. But it is too early to think about it because we have to deal with the first part of the season.”

 

In any case, Scarponi knows what would make it a dream season.

 

“That Nibali can’t keep my wheel in the Giro so that I have to slow down more than once,” said with a laugh. “He will take the win and I will be second but only because he was the captain and had to win. But without joking, it is difficult to make any predictions because a lot can happen between now and then end of the year and I will not even think about what will happen. Personally, I like to work to obtain the best result and I hope to be happy when the season is over.”

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