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The Italian star wanted to end his 18-year career on home roads, and will use the Italian monument he won on two occasions as his final farewell to the peloton.
“For me it will be a great thrill and a great honor to close in Il Lombardia which is one of the races that I have loved most in my career,” Nibali said Tuesday.
“I remember the victories of Bettini and Cunego in my first years as a pro and I dreamed one day of conquering this monument,” Nibali said. “I have already succeeded twice and I will try again in what will be my last race. I came out well from La Vuelta and I have good sensations.”
- Valverde to close curtains at Il Lombardia
- No nostalgia yet for Nibali
- Nibali to assume advisor role on new Ryder team
As reported first in VeloNews, Nibali will take on a role with a new team with Italian backers being organized by Doug Ryder for 2023.
Nibali will close out his career as the best Italian rider of his generation. He won all three grand tours, including the 2014 Tour de France when he broke a string of seven yellow jerseys in eight seasons with Sky/Ineos.
Among his 52 career victories are two editions of Il Lombardia and Milano-Sanremo, which he won with a late-race solo breakaway to fend off the bunch.
The update comes just a day after Valverde, 42, confirmed the final days of his even longer career will be a string of one-day races in Italy.
Valverde never won Lombardia, but finished second three times. Like Nibali, Valverde’s last pro race will be at the Italian monument.
“Italy is a country that I have always loved and where I have always liked to race and to finish with competitive cycling in Lombardy, it gives me immense pleasure,” Valverde said.
Vegni: ‘The last monument of the season is a bit more special than usual’
Race officials unveiled Tuesday the final details of the season’s final monument.
The 253km route will depart from Bergamo and finish in Como. The last 60km features a sequence of climbs passing through Ghisallo, San Fermo della Battaglia, Civiglio, and again through San Fermo, before the finish line on the Como lakefront.
“The last monument of the season this year is a bit more special than usual,” said Mauro Vegni, Director Area Ciclismo RCS Sport. “It will in fact be the last time that two great riders like Vincenzo Nibali, who won this race in 2015 and 2017, and Alejandro Valverde, will place a bib on their back.
“We are honored that two great champions like Vincenzo and Alejandro have chosen Il Lombardia to end their incredible careers,” he said. “From a technical point of view we propose the alternation between the two cities of Bergamo, where this year the race will be kicked off, and Como, which will host the finish.”