CHERASCO, Italy (VN) — Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is preparing for his next big test as Giro d’Italia race leader. Weather permitting, the corsa rosa faces two major mountains stages this weekend to Bardonecchia and Galibier.
“I cannot dictate the weather,” Nibali said Friday. “With rain, these stages become much more difficult to deal with, like we already saw earlier in the race to Pescara and Florence.”
Snow may force race organizer RCS Sport to re-route this weekend’s stages (http://goo.gl/3mxuf). The race travels to Bardonecchia to climb the Jafferau tomorrow. It’s not so much the Jafferau at 1,908 meters that presents problems, but the 2,642m Col du Galibier and 2,094m Mont Cenis on Sunday.
After their fair share of bad weather over the race’s opening two weeks, the riders, including maglia rosa Nibali, do not want to see a repeat of the snow-shortened Milano-Sanremo.
“We’ll see what happens to Galibier,” he said. “I don’t want the extreme like we faced in Milano-Sanremo, even if it could be better for me and allow me to take more time.”
Astana manager Guiseppe Martinelli told VeloNews it has been a hard spring on everyone.
“We have a lot of sick riders; the whole group seems to be sick at times,” Martinelli explained as rain fell hard on Thursday morning. “Even if someone’s on the way up, he has to deal with this rain and bad weather. I hope the weather gets better because the last week is already going to be plenty hard.”
Nibali is down domestiques because of the rough racing. Paolo Tiralongo suffered due to a crash early on. He is better, but both he and Fabio Aru are getting over the flu. Martinelli said that they both should recover for the last week, which includes the Val Martello and Tre Cime di Lavaredo stages.
Nibali holds a narrow, 41-second lead over Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and around two minutes to the rest of his rivals. Val Martello and Tre Cime di Lavaredo may provide the next major shake-up if bad weather spoils this weekend.
“Bardonecchia is more adapted to Nibali, whereas the Galibier suits the climbers who can defend themselves well on the climb. The [Col du] Télégraphe is harder than the Galibier, which comes afterwards. The Galibier is a good 25km, but consistent, with the last seven to eight kilometers being a little harder.
“Unfortunately, considering the altitude and recent weather, I don’t think Vincenzo will have a chance to race those climbs. If we do it, it’s better for us, but it depends on the weather. I wouldn’t want the organizers insist with it and then we have troubles.”
Astana’s party could be spoiled, at least on Sunday. The latest reports indicate the corsa rosa will race to Jafferau on Saturday, but cut short its visit to France, finishing 18.1km down the road from the Galibier in Valloire on Sunday.