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Nibali's Astana takes opening Trentino stage
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 20 - 04 - 2016

Former Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali's Astana team got off to the perfect start at the Giro del Trentino Tuesday by winning the opening stage team time-trial.
Astana beat Team Sky, whose Spanish rider Mikel Landa is one of the favorites for overall victory, by 14sec on the 12.1km time-trial overlooking Lake Garda.
French team AG2R took third place in the same time as Sky leaving 2012 winner Domenico Pozzovivo and Frenchman Romain Bardet, a top 10 finisher in the Tour de France the last two years, in a strong position.
Italian Nibali, a twice former winner of the event, will start Wednesday's 220km second stage from Arco to Anras in Austria in the driving seat, although the leader's jersey will be worn by his Astana teammate Valerio Agnoli.
Nibali is preparing for a tilt at a second Giro d'Italia crown in May as compatriot Fabio Aru will lead Astana's quest at July's Tour de France.
Nibali was a clear winner of the Tour in 2014 but finished a disappointing fourth last year 8min 36sec behind winner Chris Froome after cracking badly on the first mountain-top finish.
The next three days of the Trentino tour will be in the Alps, giving Nibali and his rivals a chance to test their climbing form.
Landa, who was an Astana teammate of Nibali and Aru last year, finishing third at the Giro behind winner Alberto Contador and Aru, will likely lead Sky's charge in this year's Giro.
Cavendish edging closer to Rio selection
Mark Cavendish is edging closer to selection for Britain's Olympic track cycling team after Jon Dibben, a rival for selection to contest the omnium, underwent elbow surgery Tuesday.
The 30-year-old, the most prolific sprinter on the road with 26 Tour de France stage wins, has been sweating on the chance to finally win a first Olympic medal ever since this year's world championships in London.
Cavendish finished sixth in the multi-discipline omnium event at the Olympic velodrome, missing the top-three target Britain's technical director Shane Sutton had set him to secure his place on the plane to Brazil.
Dibben won gold in the points race, one of the elements of the two-day omnium, in London while Cavendish showed his track credentials when he partnered Bradley Wiggins to gold in the non-Olympic Madison event.
A crash in the Netherlands last weekend in the ZLM Roompot tour, however, left Dibben with a broken elbow.
"He is being operated on today," Sutton told Reuters. "It's a pretty quick turnaround so I wouldn't say he's out but it's a setback for Jon."
British Cycling later issued an update on Dibben, saying they were confident he would return to training "imminently" after his surgery.
"His Rio ambitions remain unaffected," the statement added.


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