Giro d'Italia 2021 - Vincenzo Nibali: 'When you climb the Stelvio, you can feel cycling history'
Two-time Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali has been reflecting on his memories of the iconic race - including the iconic Stelvio Pass in the Alps. The winding road, which is on the bucket list of many cyclists, has not yet been confirmed as one of the stages for this year’s event - the Italian told Eurosport's The Cycling Show that it's a climb most professional riders “love or hate”.
Double Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali has opened up about his love-hate relationship with the iconic Stelvio climb.
The winding road in the Alps, near the Swiss border, is often a pilgrimage for many amateur cyclists, but it’s not yet been confirmed whether it’ll be included in this year’s Giro route, having featured in the 2020 edition.
Nibali has been looking back at his encounters with the Stelvio in the latest edition of The Cycling Show, which also features an interview with Britain’s former world champion Lizzie Deignan. The episode airs on Tuesday on Eurosport 1 at 20:00 GMT and will be available on the Eurosport Player.
'One of those climbs you can love or hate' - Nibali on the Stelvio
The Trek-Segafredo rider says the pass takes no prisoners, and definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted.
“The Stelvio is a very important part of Italian cycling history”, he said.
“I had the chance to race it in 2017 when we climbed it twice. I won the stage there at the Giro so for me, it’s something very special and beautiful.
“What makes it different to other legendary climbs is it’s hairpins and elevation. When you get to the top, you realise how hard it is to climb. The atmosphere is biting. The air is so cold and icy that you have to really know how to read the situation.
“On the other hand, you can embrace the Stelvio’s soul, made by the people on both sides of the road cheering you on as you climb.”
The Stelvio Pass at the 2020 Giro d'Italia
Image credit: Getty Images
Despite its legendary status, Nibali says when the going gets tough, it’s easy to forget about the iconic moments the Stelvio has produced in the past.
“When you climb the Stelvio, you can somehow feel cycling history around you. But if you’re in a moment of struggle, you can only feel the pain in your legs," he continued.
“You can enjoy the Stelvio if you have the right company with you and if you choose the right speed. But in a race, it’s not a fun job – you cannot underestimate it.
“In a race, you must ride it with determination. It can be the climb where you win or lose the Giro, it’s the mountain where you need to be at your best.
“The Stelvio is one of those climbs you can love or hate.”
Watch the full interview with Nibali on The Cycling Show at 20:00 GMT on Tuesday on Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Player.
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