Nibali versus the Skybots.

 

Nibali against Sky.

The Shark from Messina is working out his strategic plans before the Giro d’Italia.

Vincenzo Nibali has now beaten Skybot number 1, Bradley Wiggins, in the Giro del Trentino and Skybot 2, Chris Froome, in Tirreno Adriatico. Not many people can make that claim of late including Alberto Contador.

What he’s learned is that given his top form, confidence, aggressive racing tactics and plain good fortune, he can derail the Sky machine that proved so dominant in stage racing last year.

The only hitch is that he’s discovered that he’ll need a large measure of good luck to win the Giro d’Italia. Based on his experiences so far, he’ll require A) miserable weather conditions with hard rain and wind and or B) a serious mechanical shutting down his Sky rival.

In stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico, Nibali stole the race from Froome in miserable weather conditions. The pounding rain and cold threw Froome off his game and caused an error in judgement — he decided on a vest instead of a long sleeve rain jacket. It was a wardroom malfunction and Froome lost his 30 lead to the Italian. Nibali had another trident with which to poke people.

In Trentino, Nibali again attacked in the final stage four climb of Sega di Ala to take the overall victory from Wiggins. This time around Nibali showed he had the legs and a functioning drivetrain while Wiggins had so much trouble with his gears that he threw his Pinarello up against a rock wall.

Two unforeseen events, two malfunctions, a mechanical and a wardrobical and suddenly Nibali has two big wins on the way to the Giro d’Italia. Meanwhile Wiggins comes in with no individual wins — a far cry from his dominance last year.

Speaking of Skybots, there’s one crucial part in the machine that’s missing this season: Director Sportif Sean Yates, the man who guided Wiggo to a historic Tour de France victory.

Yates was either a victim of Sky’s Zero Tolerance policy or just a guy who suddenly decided his health issues suddenly dictated an immediate retirement. Not a scale back, not a less stressful position at Sky, just gone.

Wiggins has admitted that he sorely misses Yates for his experience and motivational skills. The Brit is missing a vital cog and we’ll shortly see how much that matters.

All this to say that while Nibali is in superb condition and riding with confidence, he might also need the Unforeseen Event to climb the top step of the podium and smash the Skybots.

He has to pray there is rain and cold and mechanical issues and that Wiggins suffers without Yates in the team car guiding him forward.

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  • cappuccinoexpress

    It’s going to be an interesting giro. Even if I’m italian, I fancy wiggins and not nibali.

    It’s a shame for that mechanical failure, because we don’t have a real comparison beetwen the 2 main contenders on a steep climb (surely the main “question mark” for Wiggins). It will be intresting to see if sky’s men will be able to do the same work they did in the last tour.

    Nibali is surely a nice rider, his attacking style animates always the race, he makes the races better.

    I also hope to see Hesjedal in a good form, he’s very consinstent in any terrain, and in this quite balanced giro he has the chance to confirm the pink jersey that he won last year.

    I don’t see well Scarponi, Basso and Evans.

    I was expecting more from Pellizotti in the pre-giro races, but i think he will be in a good shape for his main objective.

    A big underdog can be Santambrogio, he flied in tirreno and trentino , but he’s an absolute “question mark” in the real mountains and in the 3rd week.

    I absolutely don’t know what to say about Samuel Sanchez, Gesink and Kreuziger

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Cap, you’re right that is is going to be an intriguing Giro. You’re also right that Wiggo’s mechanical added a level of mystery as far as his climbing abilities versus Nibali.My concern is that last year nobody paid attention to Hesjedal as a contender until it was too late. That might not do that this year. Much as a love Garmin, I just don’t feel he’s good for a second win in a row. In my opinion, Evans is making a big mistake riding the Giro, then expecting to contend in the Tour. I know he’s an old diesel and they like the extra workload but there’s no way with a weaker team than Sky that he is going to be in contention. FOr me it’s a Wiggins vs Nibali battle with team strength really being the deciding factor. Sky is stronger and Astana is going to have to step up big time. Matt

  • cappuccinoexpress

    Matt, always the same problem with your comments, they disappear. I don’t know if I’m the only one who can’t see them.

    In any case, with a “trick” I’m able to see them.

    I don’t agree with the fact that nobody paid attention to Hesjedal last year. He didn’t win the giro in “Pereiro mode”. He won because he was the strongest,also due to the fact that the others contenders were bad (the only one good was purito and he has only the last km, so no big gaps).

    I agree that will be difficult for him make 2 in a row, but not because he’s not good enough, but because Wiggins and Nibali are not Rodriguez and De Gendt ;)

    We will see… can’t wait

  • The SuperStorm

    “Nibblets” could win the Maglia Rosa of which yours truly has no doubt. But he faces a tall order from the lurking “Mile High Club” from, “Wigged Out”, “Bario Dario” and possibly the “Liver Pate” if he’s ready. If I were running the show I would’ve added the “Pedal Dancer” JoDo to the list for some experience. Make no mistake though, Brailsford has been waiting for the Big Ones to release the Big Guns. Are they ready? I think the classics were just training rides for the ‘lads’. Now its show time…

    The Boys from Boulder may also put a frame pump in the spokes of “Operation SkyBot” and “Team Asinine.” The ‘G’ Men have at the ready “Danny Boy” and “Ryder Rentals” with some good depth should Vaughters chose to accept the mission at hand.

    We’ll wait and see what announcements we get from the teams soon.

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