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Vincenzo Nibali to race the Tour of Flanders

Joe Robinson
29 Jan 2018

Italian will make his debut at cobbled classic in one-day classic race schedule

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is set to make his debut at the Tour of Flanders this April before targeting victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Tour de France and World Championships.

According to reports in Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Nibali is in the advanced stages of confirming his attendance at the race on Sunday 1st April as part of a project named 'Operation Flanders'.

It was originally thought that the four time Grand Tour champion would have to skip Flanders due to racing the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in the Basque County the next day.

However, it now appears that logistics have been solved for the Sicilian to race both events with Nibali's coach Paolo Slongo giving him the go-ahead.

Speaking to Gazzetta, Slongo said, 'Vincenzo has long expressed his desire to race Flanders, and we will not object to his will

'We have talked about it better in the last days, and from us there is the green light.'

Nibali's performance will be of great interest to many onlookers considering the rider's exploits at the 2014 Tour de France.

On Stage 5 of the race, Nibali flourished on the wet cobblestones of Roubaix, putting significant time into his General Classification riders finishing third on the Stage, before going on to wear yellow in Paris.

With an already established prowess in one day racing - having taken two Il Lombardia titles and podiums at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Milan-San Remo - a top 10 result would be less than a surprise.

Flanders will form part of an ambitious season for Nibali who has already underlined no fewer than three big goals: Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Tour and the World Championships.

However, as a rider who has consistently defied popular opinion with his continued success, it would be naive to rule out the 33-year-old from this hat-trick of victories.

Nibali will start his season at the Dubai Tour on 6th February before racing the Tour of Oman on 13th February.