Vincenzo Nibali views the Tour de France in July as a “buildup” for the Rio Olympics in August, his main focus this summer, the Italian reportedly said after winning the Giro d’Italia on Sunday.
“The objective is to ride the Tour [de France] with a view to the Olympics,” Nibali said after his fourth Grand Tour title, according to CyclingNews.com. “Olympics are a very important event for me, and the Tour would definitely be a decisive part of the build-up.”
Trying to win the Giro and the Tour in the same year is a mountain of a task, given the short break between the two stage races. The double hasn’t been done since Nibali’s countryman, Marco Pantani, in 1998.
Nibali reportedly said he will ride this year’s Tour in a support role for Astana teammate and countryman Fabio Aru, the 2015 Vuelta a España winner who sat out this year’s Giro.
Nibali, 31, competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics with a top finish of 14th in the Beijing time trial.
In Rio, Nibali and Spain’s Alberto Contador can attempt to become the first cyclists to win all three Grand Tours and an Olympic gold medal.
Of the six riders to win all three Grand Tours, one owns an Olympic medal — Jacques Anquetil‘s bronze in the team road race at Helsinki 1952. Back then, Olympic cycling was for amateur riders. The team road race is no longer part of the Olympic program.
Anquetil earned his Olympic medal at age 18, five years before his first Grand Tour title.