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Memories from… Monte Grappa, 2010: Nibali, phenomenal descent and first stage win at the Giro


In the early years of his career, it used to be said that Vincenzo Nibali was stronger downhill than uphill, although, as the years went by, the Shark proved to be an all-round champion, capable of winning on any ground. His history with the Giro d’Italia is glorious, but he did not start winning until his third participation, back in 2010, when he was 25 years old and about to reach the peak of his career.

That year, the Sicilian had even worn the Maglia Rosa, thanks to the Liquigas-Doimo victory in the team time trial, only to lose it three days later on the muddy white roads stage where he ended up on the ground, without forgetting the now-famous L’Aquila breakaway, which had shattered the general classification and forced him and captain Ivan Basso into a thrilling comeback.

The mission started on stage 14, which led the Pink Caravan from Ferrara to Asolo and featured the demanding climb of Monte Grappa from the Semonzo side. As expected, Liquigas forced the pace right from the first ramps of the climb, sending Maglia Rosa Richie Porte into trouble. With 5 km to the summit, Nibali attacked, followed only by late Michele Scarponi, world champion Cadel Evans and teammate Basso. The four crested the pass together, but as soon as they hit the descent, the Shark showed off his great technique, brushing the bends with accuracy and courage, and quickly pulling away from all his rivals. Nibali arrived at the bottom of the descent with 50” on his chasers, which he would then manage for the next 15km of flat road to Asolo.

Liquigas’ mission was fulfilled, Ivan Basso was crowned winner in the Arena di Verona and Nibali took third place overall, thus achieving his first podium of 11 in Grand Tours. Coming down from Monte Grappa, the Messina native shaped his first stage victory on the Giro. In the years to come, he would claim six more stages, but more importantly, he would reach the final podium five more times, with the 2013 and 2016 triumphs enriching a legendary career.

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