Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Nibali: Sagan Most Dangerous Adversary

When is a joke not a joke? Vincenzo Nibali recently 'joked' that Peter Sagan was his 'most dangerous adversary' but whichever way you look at it, that statement is uncomfortably close to the truth...

Look Mum, No Hands!
When Sagan caused upset at Tirreno-Adriatico last Saturday by chasing down his own team-mate for the stage win it made a statement whether he wanted it to or not. Just who is the Liquigas-Cannondale leader? For the Grand Tours Nibali is better suited for the overall classification, but Sagan may well soon be pushing to take precedence on the shorter stage races, Ivan Basso looks out of the picture to me, he hasn't really hit any sort of form since returning from his ban - but this isn't a straight forward GC versus Sprinter scenario like that of Team Sky. Bradley Wiggins is an out and out General Classification rider, Mark Cavendish an out and out sprinter, Peter Sagan on the other hand is neither, yet. The boy can sprint, though he isn't a sprinter, but he can also climb with the best of them judging by the work he put in for Nibbles during stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico, Sagan is known to like a punchy up-hill finish, but Stage 6 was far more than that, and there is not many a true climber who can wheelie 'no-hands' up the Angliru!

With Nibali now looking set to lead Liquigas at Milan-San Remo 'alongside' Peter Sagan (whatever that means) just who will the route suit better? The two final climbs of Cipressa and the Poggio provide a stern enough test for some of the weaker sprinters, but not much of a challenge for the likes of Sagan, and with the up-hill slopes ending a good 3km from the finish line, the race-end has bunch sprint written all over it. Nibali will have to do something special if he fancies a sniff at winning and without the help of Sagan, who no doubt will be hoping for a slice of the pie himself, after all, he is one of the bookies favourites.

No wonder the rumour mill is all talk of Nibali switching to Astana for 2013...

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