3. Nibali’s near-perfect season
The VeloNews editorial team had quite an internal debate this fall over who should receive the Cyclist of the Year award. It eventually went to Chris Froome (Sky), but Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was neck-and-neck all the way to the season’s final races. “The Shark of Messina” uncorked a near-perfect season that arched from February to October, winning Tirreno-Adriatico and Giro del Trentino until dominating the Giro, with two stage wins and his first pink jersey.
After a break to skip the Tour and reload for the fall, Nibali nearly won the Vuelta a España, only to be ambushed by Horner. Nibali also just fell short of winning the rainbow jersey on home roads, taking fourth out of the winning move. 2013 proved a huge confirmation season for Nibali. Throughout the year, the Italian showed he can handle the pressure of leading a big team, and will enter 2014 as Froome’s No. 1 threat. If he can manage to knock back the Sky leader, there won’t be much of a debate who will be “Cyclist of the Year” in 2014.
FILED UNDER: Commentary TAGS: Andrew Talansky / Brian Cookson / Carlos Betancur / Chris Froome / Chris Horner / Fabian Cancellara / Giro d'Italia / Lance Armstrong / Marcel Kittel / Mark Cavendish / Nairo Quintana / Operación Puerto / Peter Sagan / Rigoberto Urán / Rui Costa / Sergio Henao / Tejay Van Garderen / Tour de France / Vincenzo Nibali / Vuelta a España