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Watch: Nibali grinds up World Championships climb

In week before Flanders debut Nibali heads to Austria for a vital recon

Joe Robinson
28 Mar 2018

In the week leading up to his Tour of Flanders debut, you would expect Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) to be either honing his cobble riding abilities at Dwars door Vlaanderen or resting up for a big weekend ahead.

Instead, what the recently crowned Milan-San Remo champion has actually been doing is joining his Italian teammates in a recon of the 2018 World Championships in Innsbruck despite it being six months away.

Captured on film by Italian team manager Davide Cassani, Nibali was joined by Alessandro De Marchi and Bahrain-Merida teammate Franco Pellizotti as they took to the hills of Austria in order to prepare for a course that has been tipped as one of the most mountainous World Championship courses of all time.

Despite the three Italian riders being among the best climbers in the peloton, there is no escaping the steep gradients of the course's final climb to Gramart which has earned itself the nickname 'hell'.

The final climb on the course covers 2.9km in total with an average gradient of 10.9%. The true test will come in the middle of the climb as it is reported the climb hits a maximum gradient of 28%.

This final climb will be preceded by seven ascents of the Igls climb which averages 5.9% for 6.9km. These climbs combined see the entire 265km race total 5,000m of vertical elevation gain throughout the day.

This elevation gain means that the 2018 Worlds will be the most hilly since the 1995 event in Duitama, Colombia. On that occasion, Spaniard Abraham Olano beat compatriot Miguel Indurain and a young Marco Pantani to glory.

Nibali will be among the favourites for rainbow come September with the likes of Alejandro Valverde and Dan Martin hot on his heels.

The Worlds will play part of a season heavily focused on one-day racing for Nibali who also plans to ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege after his Flanders debut this Sunday.