2 Grand Tour Podiums in the 1st Year of Existence
Monday, 18th September – Vincenzo Nibali and BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team achieved what no other team has so far – he reached two podiums on two Grand Tours in the first year of BAHRAIN MERIDA Team.
The main protagonist and key player in this historic achievement, Vincenzo Nibali, explained what were his ambitions for this year and how was he preparing for the first season with the BAHRAIN MERIDA team:
GOALS FOR 2017
“The first goal of the season was the Giro d’Italia and therefore the preparations were directed towards this goal. I started thinking about the Vuelta in July with the Passo San Pellegrino’s training camp.”
“The preparations for the 2 Grand Tours involved the alternation of races, usually not longer than a week, and training camps in altitude. This year, for example, I started in Argentina and then I went to Teide in altitude and returned to Italy for different races. It’s a progressive path that allows me to get almost 100% at the start of a Grand Tour.”
DIFFERENCE OF THE 2 GRAND TOURS
“Giro and Vuelta are two very challenging races. At the Giro d’Italia more than the climbs, the time trials made a difference and gave a little advantage to the race winner Tom Dumoulin. At Vuelta we really did a great performance against strong opponents like Chris Froome and Team Sky and that’s why my 2nd place is a very important result.”
“For both races I have to thank my dear team-mates. Without them I would not have achieved those 2 podiums. Everyone gave their best and helped me on all occasions. Special thanks to Franco Pellizotti, who was really crucial in the Vuelta’s last stages.”
RECOVERY AND GOALS FOR 2018
“Now I have to think about the Giro di Lombardia, a beautiful race I won two years ago. The Vuelta’s crash has had some consequences, but I should be ready for the “Dead Leaves” Classic. The goals for the next season after such a good season are still high. I will definitely go for Grand Tour but I do not know yet what I will do. I expect to see the routes and together with the team management and my coach Paolo Slongo we will determine the goals. In addition to staged races, the other great goal will be the World Championship in Austria.”
Head of Performance Paolo Slongo who is always near Vincenzo Nibali shared his thoughts after two podiums on the Grand Tours: “The podium in Madrid is really a great result. Vincenzo and the team did really well against very strong rivals. I consider also the 3rd place of the Giro a good result, achieved at the end of three weeks of a very hard race. Vincenzo has confirmed to be one of the few riders in the world able to win a Grand Tour.”
General Manager of the team, Brent Copeland commented the big success of the team in the first season: “After taking a close evaluation of the first year’s season so far we at BAHRAIN MERIDA can say that we are very proud of the how it has gone. We started out with a number of goals for the season both on and off the bike and even though we had some bad luck with accidents and injuries we were still able to reach most of those goals, one of those goals was to finish on the podium at one of the Grand Tours, this happened not only once but twice which is something truly incredible, especially for a team who is only in their first year. This kind of a result is achieved thanks not only to a champion such as Vincenzo Nibali but also thanks to the whole team involved, both riders and staff have been amazing on working constantly on reaching and achieving the team’s goals and objectives and we thank them for this hard effort of which we will keep striving to do our best in the future.”
BAHRAIN MERIDA Team will continue their hard work and dedication. With the help of all the sponsors, supporter and fans they are sure they will achieve many more podiums in the future.