Vincenzo Nibali will make his debut in Trek-Segafredo colours at the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta (2.Pro) starting 19 February, where he will lead the team alongside Bauke Mollema. It follows on from a two-week training camp at altitude at Teide.
“Although I have many season debuts behind me, doing it with a new team brings a touch of serene trepidation,” said Nibali, who will race in Portugal for the first time in his career. “With the team, we agreed that the Volta ao Algarve arrives at the right time to start the season. It comes after an important workload, especially at Teide, and is ideal for those like me who don’t need to hurry their debut.
“It will be a long season, and my first big goal is the Giro d’Italia. To reach my best condition there, I need to do it step by step, with a clear roadmap, and without excessive stress to the physique. Algarve is the perfect starting point.
“The stages have everything I need for my first feedback: two uphill arrivals, demanding routes, and a time trial. It’s my first time in this race, I won’t have any comparisons with past experiences, so it will be an interesting test. Honestly, to have ambitions of victory won’t be easy, but no doubt I’ll perform 100% to be useful to the team’s ambition. We have started the season great, and now I want to make my contribution.”
“I’m very happy for these first months with Trek-Segafredo. The camps in Sicily, Mallorca, and Teide have been very useful to get to know the team environment and to create that fundamental bonding. The conditions for a great start are all there,” Nibali added.
“I can’t wait to pin the number on my jersey again,” said Bauke Mollema. It will be Mollema’s second appearance at Volta ao Algarve after 2018, where he finished second in the queen stage and fourth in the final classification.
“The winter went in the best way, without any hiccups or problems, and I have fully recovered from an exciting but energy-intensive 2019 season finale. That’s why we decided to postpone the debut compared to past years. We also added the camp at Teide, so I’ve done quite a lot of work in preparation.
“I like the Volta ao Algarve route as I think it suits me. The two uphill finishes are quite explosive, and I like the rolling time trial. It will be a good testing ground for my condition; I would like to do well, with the hope of continuing the team’s excellent start of the season,” he added.
Supporting Nibali and Mollema are Jasper Stuyven and Ryan Mullen, two key riders behind Matteo Moschetti’s victories in Mallorca, road captain Koen de Kort, who has already seen WorldTour action in Australia, and Edward Theuns and Antonio Nibali, also starting their first races of the year. Antonio Nibali will also make his first race appearance with the team.
“We’ll be in Portugal with a strong and well-equipped team,” said team director Steven de Jongh. “For Nibali and Mollema, we’ll see day after day how much their current form allows them to lead with the first. I talked to them, and they are very motivated to start the season doing their best. We’ll have an eye also on the classification and, considering the level of our competitors, I think a top-five placement can be a concrete goal, maybe even something more.
“For the sprint stages, we’re going to play our chances with Theuns and Stuyven. For the final time trial, it will be interesting to see Nibali race with the Trek Speed Concept for the first time, and with Mollema and TT specialist Mullen, we can guarantee a good team performance. We want to give continuity to the good start of our season by aiming for a stage success,” he concluded.