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Could victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege cement Vincenzo Nibali's place in the history books?

Joe Robinson
9 Oct 2017

Four Grand Tour victories and two Monuments, yet Vincenzo Nibali is hungry for a new challenge

An impressive solo victory at last weekend's Il Lombardia saw Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) clinch his second career Monument.

This latest victory has been added to his four Grand Tour titles, in which the Italian has taken a win at all three of the three-week stage races.

With palmarès this rich, it would be easy for 32-year-old to rest on his laurels, safe within the knowledge that he has managed to achieve much more than most in his sport.

However, for the Italian, it looks as if 2018 will bring some new ambitions outside of his usual Grand Tour targets, with a view at aiming for success at both Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the World Championships.

In conversation with Tuttobici, the Sicilian remarked that he would like to return to the Ardennes Classics in search of victory in Liege.

'Before talking about next year's programs, I want to see the Tour and Tour tracks, but I confirm that I would like to go back to riding the classics.'

Nibali then went on to say he would specifically target Liege-Bastogne-Liege, hoping to compete against Julian Alaphilippe, who finished second at Il Lombardia last Saturday behind the Italian.

Second in 2012 is Nibali's previous best result at 'La Doyenne', showing a clear ability to win the race.

Previous to this latest statement, Nibali had also earmarked the World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria as one of his main targets for 2018. The hilly course presents a rare opportunity for climbers like Nibali to take the rainbow jersey.

If Nibali was to walk away with victory in these two one-day races next season, the clinical quality of the Italian would no longer be able to be ignored and he would be finally given the recognition he somewhat deserves.

Despite victory in all Grand Tours, a feat only achieved by six riders ever, and two Il Lombardia titles, many often fail to applaud Nibali's quality.

Victory at the 2012 Tour de France came after his closest rivals Chris Froome and Alberto Contador crashed out of contention, leading to many questioning the circumstances in which he took the yellow jersey.

Questions had also been raised over his victories at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana, with some suggesting Nibali is yet to win a Grand Tour racing against the top general classification talent.

However, with each major victory, the Italian is proving his undeniable quality, which now sees him as one of the most decorated active riders still in the professional peloton.

Alongside Damiano Cunego and Alejandro Valverde, Nibali is only one of three active riders to have won a Monument and Grand tour. 

Additionally, with the retirement of Contador, Nibali remains the only active rider to have won all three Grand Tours.

If the man they call the 'shark of Messina' can pull off victories in either of the two one-day races he is targeting next year then the noise for Nibali to remembered as one of the greats could become deafening.