Vincenzo Nibali enjoyed his low-profile season debut at the Dubai Tour, happy to work on his high-end fitness by playing a part in Sonny Colbrelli’s lead out train and clock up a solid five days of racing kilometres. The Bahrain-Merida team leader now heads to the Tour of Oman, where the rolling terrain and Green Mountain finish suits him much more.
“It’s not a route that suits me but it’s good to get going. I stayed out of trouble but did some work for Sonny Colbrelli and got into the race routine,” Nibali told Cyclingnews.
“I should have made my season debut in Argentina at the Vuelta a San Juan but I got sick at exactly the wrong time, so we’ve had to move things around a little. I added the Dubai Tour to get my first taste of racing and it fitted in after the team presentation in Bahrain.
“I’d ridden the Dubai Tour in the past, I know what it’s like, so it’s not that unusual for me. It was a perfect start to the season.”
Nibali is known for his love of racing and could be seen leading the Bahrain-Merida leadout train into position in the final five kilometres on each stage. Despite having the skinny build of a Grand Tour rider, he stuck his elbow out and got stuck in each day, before moving off the front of the peloton with three kilometres to go.
When Colbrelli won stage 4 to Hatta Dam, Nibali played a vital role together with two teammates, helping both to close the gap on lone attacker Brandon McNulty (Rally) and to wear out the sprinters with a high-speed finale to the foot of Hatta Dam.
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