Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali announced his plan to retire from cycling after this racing season today on RAI TV’s Processo Alla Tappa program following the conclusion of today’s Giro d’Italia stage to his hometown of Messina, in Sicily. With his parents and many friends in attendance, Nibali confirmed what had been the subject of speculation for the 37-year-old, that it was time to conclude his incredible career. You can watch a visibly emotional Nibali discuss retirement with the RAI studio crew, who also brought in Nibali’s parents early on in this clip:
The video concludes with his friend and former teammate Sonny Colbrellii brought in to say hello and congratulate him on his decision. Nibali discusses leaving Messina at age 15 to pursue his dreams, and talks about the support of friends and family. After that, my Italian isn’t good enough to parse out what he said, but you can probably guess.
Nibali has had a career for the ages, but I don’t think today is the time to recount all of his accomplishments. He is one of my favorite riders as a result of his diverse successes and attacking style, as well as his contributions to southern Italy’s place in the peloton (although as any Sicilian will tell you, the only geopolitical label they accept is “Sicilian,” so maybe I’m overstepping). In any case, Nibali is now on course to ride his final Giro d’Italia, so while he isn’t a contender to win, we will follow along and look for him to try something big. If he doesn’t go for a dramatic stage victory somewhere, I’ll pour out an old bottle of Marsala in disgust.