“It’s time to stop. I worked very long and very hard, but this season is the right time for me to retire.” : it is in his hometown of Messina that Vincenzo Nibali (37), winner among others of the three Grand Tours (Spain 2010, Italy 2013 and 2016, France 2014), announced on Wednesday that he would stop his professional career at the outcome of this season.
The Italian from Astana made this announcement on Italian television after the 5th stage of the Tour of Italy: “I’ve been waiting for this stage for a very long time. I started running and training here. And this is where I want to confirm that this will be my last Giro and my last year. »
Italian cycling leader of the last 10-15 years
A child of this port city, which he left at the age of sixteen for Tuscany to harden his career as a runner, he has gradually transformed into a leader in Italian cycling over the last 10-15 years after beginning his career in 2005 with Fassa Bortolo.
His first success outside of Italy, he won at the Grand Prix de Plouay in 2006. Simple beginnings of a much wider career that opened up to him, first with Liquigas (2006-2012), then with Astana ( 2013-2016 before returning for its final season), Bahrain-Merida (2017-2019) and Trek-Segafredo (2020-2021). In these last two teams, it is moreover on his name alone that the Italian co-sponsors commit themselves.
Nibali, Gilbert, Valverde to retire at the end of the year
In addition to his four successes in the Grand Tours, the Sicilian has also largely shone in one-day races, winning three classic Monuments (twice the Tour of Lombardy in 2015 and 2017, Milan-San Remo in 2018 after a last solo raid until ‘at via Roma) and the Italian champion’s jersey twice (2014 and 2015). Added to this are three other podiums in the major classics (2nd in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2012 and in Lombardy in 2018, behind Thibaut Pinot) and eight podiums in the Grand Tours.
The 2022 season will therefore be the last for three major riders in the peloton, since the Belgian Philippe Gilbert and the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde will also retire at the end of the year.