Vincenzo Nibali exits Tour to prepare for Olympics

The Trek-Segafredo Italian leader looks ahead to Tokyo after a big effort in Stage 15

After 15 challenging stages in the Tour de France, Vincenzo is switching gears with an eye on the Tokyo Olympics.  Before his planned departure on the second rest day of the 2021 Tour de France, Nibali made a last big effort in a bid for a win in Stage 15.

Using the inspiration from Bauke Mollema’s solo win in Stage 14, and with an eye on his future goal, Vincenzo joined a large breakaway with Julien Bernard and Kenny Elissonde.  In the end, Nibali finished in 11th place after another significant team effort in the front of the race.

“Today, it was all day hard, not just the finale, especially after the strong effort we made yesterday.  We did a strong ride with Julien and Kenny, who did a good job supporting me. It was not easy at all to be in the front,” explained Nibali.

“In the finale, we tried to push hard, to set the pace high to make a selection. It was a way to control the race also. On the final climb there was no agreement in the breakaway, and it was just a personal confrontation among the best. I think it was a good day, we raced aggressively as the team has been doing since the beginning. Definitely, a last good test to leave the race.”

Nibali will join Trek-Segafredo teammate Giulio Ciccone as members of the Italian team for the road cycling race in Tokyo, which takes place in less than two weeks.  Only a race with the prestige of the Olympics can draw a rider away from the Tour, and Tokyo is a big goal for Nibali this year.

“I raced a different Tour compared to my past experience, but similar to 2016 before Rio,” continued Nibali.  “The Tour is a boost for everyone; you can compare with the top in the world. I think it was the perfect way for me to reach the top form for Tokyo.

“The feeling is good, but for a race like the Olympics, you need the entire team at the top. I’m sure my teammate Ciccone will be a key rider for the team.”