Nibali rounds on critics ahead of Rio


Vincenzo Nibali has lashed out after being criticised for his performance at the Tour de France, despite the Astana rider having previously stated his focus was on Rio 2016.

Nibali finish over an hour behind eventual winner Chris Froome having struggled in some of the mountain stages across the three-week Grand Tour.

His failure to challenge Froome saw some criticise his performances despite Nibali openly admitting he was at the Tour in support of team-mate Fabio Aru - who finished 13th.

However, Nibali has still enjoyed a good 2016 with victory in the Giro d'Italia coming earlier in the year and an Olympic gold in his sights.

"I'm not a robot. Everybody always expects a lot from me - I get that but I never said I was going for the classification," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"That's why I think I was far too heavily criticised when I was dropped on the first mountain stage in the Massif Central.

"I want to point that I had a great first part of the season. I won in Oman in February, I rode strongly in March at Tirreno-Adriatico and I won the Giro d'Italia. 

"I've always been very focused and I only had one day off in the winter so that I'd be on form for 2016.

"As I said, I'm only human, I'm not a robot. I always try my best and I tried hard to win a stage but you've got to know how to listen to your body and measure your effort, especially considering the goals ahead.

"When my legs told me I wouldn't be a GC contender, I worked for the good of the team, which is the right thing to do. 

"The guys at Astana have given their all for me on many occasions, so it was good to give something back."

Froome will be a tough man to beat in the road race in Brazil given the climbing nature to the route, but Nibali remains confident his Italian team-mates can help them claim something in what will be his third Games appearance.

"It won't be easy to win but with the tough route and the national team we have, we can do well," he added.

"The whole Italian team is motivated for Rio. We've collected a few placings out of the medals recently but we've got a good chance this time. 

"Let's hope we don't get overly criticised if we don't win a medal."