Paris - Reigning Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali will warm up for his
defence of the world's greatest bike race with the punishing Criterium
de Dauphine in June, his coach Paolo Slongo revealed on Tuesday.
The Astana rider, 30, will begin his season's work at the Tour of
Dubai (February 4-7), the Tour of Oman (February 17-22) before the Italian races
in March featuring the Strade-Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and
Milan-Sanremo, Slongo told Cycling Weekly.
Nibali finished seventh in last year's Dauphine behind surprise
American winner Andrew Talansky and during a race when former Tour de
France winners Alberto Contador finished second and Briton Chris Froome
struggled home after crashing.
The Sicilian will then race in the one-day classics, the Amstel Gold
Race as well as the Fleche-Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but will
skip his home race the Giro d'Italia which he won in 2013.
The Tour de France begins on July 4 in Utrecht, Netherlands and finishes in Paris on July 26.