Vincenzo Nibali, who rides for the Kazakhstani UCI ProTeam Astana, has remarked doping cases in cycling have become rare and this theme belongs to the past. Nibali believes the peloton should look forward after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. He remarked we need to leave these mistakes in the past and give their chance to the young riders.
Nibali, who led the Tour de France on Thursday for a 10th time in 12 stages, said he expected questions about doping from reporters as much of the last generation used performance-enhancers such as blood-booster EPO or human growth hormone, and methods like blood-doping. It is widely believed by many cycling experts now that the sport has hugely cleaned up its act. Recently, Sky team sacked British cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke after he was banned for an irregular biological passport.
Astana, the team of Nibali, was kicked out of the 2007 Tour de France after Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for banned blood transfusions. Vinokourov served his ban and made a return to racing. He won gold at the London Olympics and is now Astana’s general manager. Astana is also the team that Alberto Contador was riding for in 2010 when he tested positive for Clenbuterol, a banned anabolic agent.
Nibali says Astana has changed and said he selected Astana for the possibility to build a group that he can trust to bring him at a competitive level for important races like the Giro, the Tour, and the (Spanish) Vuelta. The Italian professional road bicycle racer, who is presently considered one of the strongest stage race riders, said there have been many mistakes in cycling in the past, by many riders, but they belong to the past.
Nibali added we now have a biological passport, out-of-competition controls, and controls at home. He went on to add that nobody can say that cycling hasn’t changed as nowadays, there is an isolated case as there is always the possibility that an idiot does something stupid. Nibali added he won't speak for the whole peloton but something has been done to clean up this sport.
Nicknamed the "Shark of the Strait", Nibali is aspiring to become only the sixth rider in history (after Frenchmen Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil, Italy's Felice Gimondi, Belgian Eddy Merckx, and Alberto Contador) to win all three Grand Tours of France, Italy, and Spain. Vincenzo Nibali, who won the 2010 Vuelta a España and the 2013 Giro d'Italia, would be the first Italian to win the Tour since Marco Pantani in 1998.
Nibali is however not high on over-confidence during this year's Tour de France and keeping a close check on Richie Porte of Australia who trails by 2 minutes, 23 seconds, and Alejandro Valverde of Spain who was third, 2:47 back. Nibali remarked he is sure our rivals will try to attack but on the other hand, if he can gain some seconds, he will go for it and added he have to evaluate the strength of his adversaries and consider every race situation.