Tour de France

Wiggins lacks respect - Nibali

2012-07-11 22:32
Bradley Wiggins (File)
Bellegarde-sur-Valserine - Former Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali says Bradley Wiggins should show more respect for cycling's traditions - and him.

Nibali tried a move during Wednesday's first Alpine stage of the Tour de France but was eventually caught by Wiggins and his Sky team-mates.

Nibali said Wiggins stared at him in a disrespectful manner at the finish line.

"They are really strong at the moment, but he should show more respect for his competitors," said Nibali, who won the Spanish Vuelta two years ago and was third in the Giro last season. "Wiggins looked at me at the finish and I really did not like the way he did it. He also gestured with his hand in an unpleasant way."

Wiggins leads the fourth-place Italian by 2 minutes, 23 seconds in the overall standings. The Briton's best result on the Tour is fourth three years ago.

Wiggins finished third in the Vuelta last year after recovering from fracturing his collarbone during the Tour.

The 32-year-old Wiggins and his team have dominated the race so far, but Nibali warns him to stay humble before the race ends in Paris on July 22.

"In cycling, fortunes can change quickly for everyone" said Nibali, whose attacks in the mountains have earned him the nickname "the Shark."

"Of course he is a good rider. But I'm speaking about respect, about tradition. In cycling, riders have always shown a great respect toward each others. We are not footballers."

Nibali attacked Wiggins on the descent of the Col du Grand Colombier, a mountain that is beyond classification and which riders were tackling for the first time in Tour history on Wednesday.

Wiggins said his team reacted well and did not "panic too much."

"There's only one big rival at the moment: without a doubt, Cadel is the one I watch all the time," Wiggins said. "But I don't underestimate anyone in that first 10."

Nibali's move prompted Sky riders to give chase, but Nibali and team-mate Peter Sagan managed to open a 55-second gap when they reached the valley. Sagan was unable to stay with his leader on the final ascent of the day, the Col de Richemond, and Nibali was caught by the peloton about 2 kilometres from the top of the hill.

"But I did not make too many efforts today," Nibali said when asked about the timing of his attack, on the eve of the gruelling ride to the ski resort of La Toussuire, a 148km trek with a hilltop finish.

"On the descent, I just used my natural abilities. And when I realized that Sagan could not push anymore, I stopped working and I took the chance to eat."

Nibali is a strong climber and the Tour course this year doesn't favour him because it gives more weight to the time trials than the mountains.

"The mountain stages this year are not very, very difficult this year, and the time trials favour Bradley," Nibali said.

The Sicilian, who skipped the Giro this year to focus on the Tour, is being supported by veteran Ivan Basso.

"Wiggins and Sky remind me of the years when Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong were on the Tour," Basso said. "They are so strong that it's always difficult to attack. You can take 500 metres, but they always catch you at the end."

Read more on:    tdf  |  vincenzo nibali  |  bradley wiggins  |  cycling
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