Vincenzo Nibali keen to defend Giro d'Italia title in 2017
By Matt Westby in Abu Dhabi
Last Updated: 19/10/16 4:21pm
Vincenzo Nibali has revealed he is keen to defend his Giro d’Italia title in 2017 rather than target the Tour de France.
Next May's 100th edition of the Giro is expected to visit his home city of Messina and the 31-year-old wants to race in front of his local fans.
Nibali will join the newly formed Bahrain-Merida from Astana next season and is set to make a decision on his 2017 schedule at the team's upcoming first training camp.
Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Tour, where he is racing from Thursday to Sunday this week, Nibali said: "It is the 100th edition of the Giro and I am the last winner, and there is also a stage in Messina, so it is important for my people. I want to go to the Giro d'Italia, but I don't have the programme yet.
"After Abu Dhabi, we have a training camp and I will speak with the manager for the new season."
Bahrain-Merida have been set up by Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, of Bahrain, and will be built around Nibali, who is taking a clutch of riders and staff from Astana with him.
The team have also made a series of high-profile signings, including Movistar duo Giovanni Visconti and Ion Izagirre and Amstel Gold Race winner Enrico Gasparotto.
Nibali, who won the Tour de France in 2014, added: "I am very proud to be in the Bahrain team. I want to be the chief protagonist of the team and it is a new adventure. I believe it will be a very good project.
"The nice thing is that I am building my own project. I'm not going into another project, so I can measure everything, which is a good sensation.
"We work like a group - the trainer, the masseur, the doctor - like a family. I'm pleased to go with my family to a new team.
"The project is three years. Maybe after we can continue, but it does not depend only on me. Hopefully we will do a good three years, and after we will see."
The route for the 2017 Giro will be unveiled on Monday.