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Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali on Mountain Bike?

Both champions ended their professional career on the road but both, more or less, have had an off-road experience.

Vincenzo Nibali Tour De France
Vincenzo Nibali wins the Tour De France in 2014.

Fabio Aru is back in MTB after leaving professional road cycling. It is the sport in which he started pedaling and now he could form a "dream team" with Vincenzo Nibali to compete in the Absa Cape Epic 2023.

What is the Cape Epic: it is the most important stage race in the MTB world (usually lasting a week): the last edition measured a total of 657km for 17000m of elevation gain (so every day, on average, 2000m of elevation gain for about 90km). It is done in pairs.

Vincenzo Nibali has already told the Gazzetta that he would like to compete in MTB and in the Cape Epic 2023. Fabio Aru, on the other hand, is already participating in MTB races (he has participated in the BMW South Tyrol Hero even if it is not in the charts) and there is great friendship with Vincenzo. Fabio has become an ambassador of Specialized Italia and has already declared that he will be at the start of the Assietta Legend in Sestriere (TO).


Fabio Aru (San Gavino Monreale, 3 July 1990) has been a professional since 2012 and is nicknamed the Knight of the Quattro Mori (a reference to the bandera of Sardinia). At just 31 years old, Fabio Aru retired from professional road cycling last year with a splendid career in the early years only to die out as he aged. Considered by all to be a natural talent, able to win the Vuelta Espana at just 25 years old in 2015, but he soon lost himself in professional cycling. Few have been able to give an explanation.

In his career he also won a stage in the Tour de France, three stages in the Giro d'Italia and two in the Vuelta a España and the national title in 2017. In the 2015 Giro d'Italia, at the age of 25, he won the jersey of best young and placed 2nd overall behind Alberto Contador. He is the first Sardinian (and fourth Italian overall after Felice Gimondi, Francesco Moser and Vincenzo Nibali) to have worn the pink jersey, the yellow of the Tour and the red of the Vuelta.

2008 was the year that pointed this out to the insiders: in that year it was reserved for the MTB World Championships 2008 in Val di Sole (Junior World Championships won by Peter Sagan), placing in the top 5 at the nationals XCO MTB, and wore the Azzurra jersey at the MTB European Championships and at the Treviso Cyclocross World Championships (25th).


Vincenzo Nibali (Messina, November 14, 1984) has been a road professional since 2005 and is one of seven cyclists (in addition to Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Felice Gimondi, Bernard Hinault, Alberto Contador and Chris Froome) to have won at least one edition of all three Grand Tours, having won the Vuelta a España in 2010, the Giro d'Italia in 2013 and 2016 and the Tour de France in 2014. It is also one of the only four riders (together with Merckx, Hinault and Gimondi) to have won the three Grand Tours and at least two classic monuments: the Giro di Lombardia, in 2015 and 2017, and the Milan-Sanremo, in 2018. they add two Italian titles in the road race, in 2014 and 2015, two Tirreno-Adriatico, in 2012 and 2013, and another seven podiums in the three Grand Tours.

It will certainly not be easy to aim to win the Cape Epic 2023, more likely a placement, but it is always nice to see great athletes from other disciplines approach the off-road with humility.

Written by

[email protected] I am a fan of everything that has 2 wheels: at a young age I practiced road and track cycling (Italian Allievi champion). At the age of 18 I passed into the cross country competing at national/international level as an Under23. Past Elite, I made the choice to take things more lightly from a training point of view, and my love for gravity disciplines was born, training me as an FCI MTB instructor and guide. Now I have made passion my profession by managing 2 MTB centers on the island of Elba (Bike Center Elba and Elba MTB), creating the FANTAmtb and telling in an ironic but professional way everything that revolves around MTB thanks to 365mountainbike and 365TV (YouTube'PULITI dentro BIKER fuori').


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