Nibali bids farewell to Giro d’Italia with fourth place and special prize

Jai Hindley won the 2022 Giro d’Italia but Vincenzo Nibali received the biggest applause as he rode the Verona amphitheater and bid a moving farewell to the race that inspired him as a boy in Sicily , and which he won in 2013 and 2016.

The entire Roman amphitheater chanted “Vinc-enzo, Vinc-enzo, Vinc-enzo, Vinc-enzo” as he concluded his 11th and final Giro d’Italia.

“Grazie, grazie,” Nibali said from the stage, his thanks mirroring those of the crowd.

“I’m maybe even more moved than when I won the Giro, so thank you again for everything.”

“It was very emotional to step into the arena, it’s a special way to end a Grand Tour, especially my last one. Hearing the crowd cheering my name is magical, it’s always been a special part of the Giro. I know that people have always cheered me on, from the side of the road and in front of the television. Thank you everyone.”

Nibali later returned to the podium to win the Trofeo Bonacossa, a special prize named after the first owner of The Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian newspaper that still owns the Giro d’Italia. It was a sort of reward for his entire career.

Nibali is a proud Sicilian and rarely shows his emotions, but this Giro d’Italia was always going to be different. Although he turned 38 in November and his spring was ruined by COVID-19 and illness, Nibali still wanted to do well, maybe win a stage, finish in the top 10 or even better, and has was propelled into a team leader role when Miguel Ángel López climbed. out of Stage 4 due to a thigh injury.

He was bitterly disappointed to lose two minutes to his overall rivals on his home roads on the slopes of Mount Etna, but then experienced the thrill of confirming he would retire at the end of 2022 the following day when the Giro d ‘Italia went to his house. city ​​of Messina.

Finally, the announcement of an end date seemed to lift a burden off Nibali’s shoulders and he began to climb with the best, eventually reaching fourth place overall, 9:02 behind Jai Hundley. Nibali was only 49th in the Verona time trial and so held off Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) to finish fourth by just 12 seconds.

“I’m happy to have finished fourth,” said Nibali, finally accepting the results of three weeks of tough racing against riders at least ten years younger than him.

“I’ll be honest, I was tired in the time trial. I tried to do my best and stay focused during my race, but I know it wasn’t a great race. I’m happy with my race. I fought hard, I suffered, I had good days and bad days but I never gave up.

Nibali will continue to race with Astana Qasaqstan for the remainder of 2022. However, he has no intention of racing the Tour de France and likely not the Vuelta a España. His home Grand Tour is his last dance, with Il Lombardia in October, the Classic he has won twice, an end goal to aim for to sign on a high rather than slip quietly.

“Now it’s time to take a break and think about the rest of the season,” he said.

“I have made my decision to retire and I don’t think I will change my mind, surprisingly leaving the door open for any future reversals.

“I’m sure I’ll miss the races, but I hope people will still appreciate what I’ve achieved.”

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