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The Shark Dives into Liege

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Apr 23, 2016 – Vincenzo Nibali admitted he has yet to find his best form ahead of a tilt at a second victory in the Giro d’Italia next month.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

Nibali will be lining up at the one-day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday with many putting him amongst the favourites, but the 31-year-old Italian was playing down his chances on Saturday.

“My legs are still a bit tired so today (Saturday) was about recovery. Tomorrow will be another very tough day, also because of the weather,” he said.

Cold, rain and perhaps even snow are expected on the 253km race known as ‘La Doyenne’ (the oldest). Nibali may not fancy his own chances but his Astana team arrive in Belgium with a strong team and two riders who were in good form at the Giro del Trentino this week.

Estonian Tanel Kangert won two stages and finished second overall, just two seconds behind Spanish winner Mikel Landa. Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang was third overall at 14sec at the end of the four-day race while Nibali could finish only 21st, almost seven minutes off the pace.

“It won’t be easy but we’ve got a strong team with two wins from Kangert and Fuglsang in great form, so we’ll have chances,” said Nibali, who was less enthusiastic about his own hopes.

“I don’t know, we’ll see because I’m searching for my best form. I’m taking it day by day. “I’ve been working really hard and tomorrow’s race will even help me get that bit more and I’ll see how I am at the end.”

Sicilian Nibali finished second in 2012 when he was beaten by Kazakh Maxim Iglinsky, who was caught taking EPO two years later and subsequently banned. Lo Squalo (the shark) — as Nibali is known — won the Giro in 2013 before claiming Tour de France victory the next year as well. He also won the Vuelta a Espana in 2010 and is aiming for a fourth Grand Tour win next month in his homeland.