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As the Giro d’Italia arrived in Vincenzo Nibali’s hometown of Messina, the 37-year-old announced that not only will this be his final Italian Grand Tour but also his last year as a professional rider.
The Shark of Messina made the announcement at the end of stage five after a day on Sicilian home roads before the Giro leaves for the Italian mainland, calling time on an 18-year career where he has won all three Grand Tours, Milan-Sanremo and Il Lombardia.
“It’s been a difficult day for me and for my family. I’ve been waiting for this stage for a very long time,” an emotional Nibali told Italian broadcaster RAI after the stage. “There was a lot of emotion riding into Messina, my home, my family, my friends. It’s my city and it’s where I started racing and training so I want to confirm here that this will be my last Giro and my last year.”
Nibali’s 12th place finish on the stage 2 time trial in Budapest made people sit up and take notice that maybe the veteran wasn’t done just yet, but the trip to Mount Etna on stage 4 saw the Italian lose five minutes on the climb.
“It’s time to stop,” Nibali continued. “I have worked very long and very hard, but this season is the right time for me to end it.”