These are the roads where he came of age. Six years ago, Vincenzo Nibali started to discover the forests and roads in Passo San Pellegrino and the marvellous sensation of peace that the Dolomites can bring. Back then, in 2008, Vincenzo Nibali was a young hope for Italian cycling. Now, after winning the triple crown of the Giro, the Vuelta and the Tour de France, he has become a legend in this gruelling and exciting sport.
Passo San Pellegrino is also celebrating with Vincenzo Nibali, because this is where “The Shark from the Channel” refined his physical conditioning as he prepared for the Grande Bouclé together with his coach, Paolo Slongo. “I’m Froome, come and get me” Slongo would say to Nibali. They spent days on end doing specific workouts with a scooter, stopwatch in hand and a specific route to follow: Passo Sella as a warm up, then Campolongo, passo Valparola, passo Pordoi and the last phase on the climbs to Passo San Pellegrino.
“With the motorcycle we’d simulate the final accelerations” explained Slongo. “Work sessions that last 10-15 minutes, divided into bursts and accelerations. Every minute I accelerate a little more, toot the horn and Vincenzo takes off. And like in the race he has to come catch me and ride past me. Or sometimes we will simulate the race with some team mates.”
An intense working regimen studied to perfection carried Vincenzo Nibali to become King of the 2014 Tour de France, and the seventh Italian to wear the yellow jersey on the Champs Elysees in Paris, gaining entry into the elite circle of greats who have won the three major stage races at least once in their careers. He will join the ranks of other famous champions like Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Alberto Contador and Felice Gimondi.
Want to follow in Vincenzo Nibali’s tracks? Hop on the back of your bike and come to train at Passo San Pellegrino! This is where great champions are made.