Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is closing in on his first Giro d’Italia without a stage win. Past champions before, including Ryder Hesjedal last year, crowned their victories with a win in one of the races famous Alpine mountain legs.

“I think I can win one of the big mountain stages or the time trial [today],” Nibali explained in press conference yesterday.

“It’s always hard to win those. I also have to defend an important jersey, which I’ve been wearing for already many days. My goal is to take time on my rivals, and if there’s a chance to win a stage, then I’ll try.”

Nibali gifted the Jafferau stage to fellow Italian, Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) on Saturday. The duo escaped and worked together to achieve their goals: Nibali time on rivals, Santambrogio a stage win.

Time is running out for Nibali. Today’s mountain time trial and two high-mountain stages, Val Martello and Tre Cime di Lavaredo remain.

Bad weather, however, may cut the meat out of those tests. Race technical director, Mauro Vegni told Cycling Weekly on Tuesday that the Gavia and Stelvio passes are at risk and that he may re-route cyclists through the valleys to reach Val Martello. He added that he might have to cancel the Giro’s jewel, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, because it could be impossible to reach.

Tomorrow, snow and freezing temperatures are expected at Passo dello Stelvio, the race’s highest climb at 2758 metres.

Taking such famous passi out of the Giro would lessen Nibali’s win.

Nibali explained without them, it would be easier to control his 1-26-minute lead over Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). But he added, “It’s hard to say if I’d feel like the winner.”

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Giro d’Italia 2013: Previews and race info

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Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage reports

Stage 17: Visconti wins from escape

Stage 16: Intxausti continues Movistar’s successful Giro with stage win

Stage 15: Visconti wins Galibier stage

Stage 14: Santambrogio wins and Nibali strengthens lead

Stage 13: Cavendish takes his fourth stage win of 2013 Giro

Stage 12: Cavendish takes 100th win as Wiggins’ Giro bid faltrs

Stage 11: Navardauskas wins as favourites enjoy day off

Stage 10: Uran wins as Wiggins and Hesjedal lose time

Stage nine: Belkov takes solo win as Wiggins put under pressure

Stage eight: Dowsett wins as Nibali takes race lead

Stage seven: Wiggins crashes as Hansen wins

Stage six: Cavendish wins stage six of Giro

Stage five: Degenkolb avoids crash to take win

Stage four: Battaglin sprints to first Giro stage win

Stage three: Paolini takes charge

Stage two: Sky wins team time trial

Stage one: Cavendish wins opener

Giro d’Italia 2013: Photo galleries

Photos by Graham Watson

Stage 17 gallery

Stage 16 gallery

Stage 15 gallery

Stage 14 gallery

Stage 13 gallery

Stage 12 gallery

Stage 11 gallery

Stage 10 gallery

Stage nine gallery

Stage eight gallery

Stage seven gallery

Stage six gallery

Stage five gallery

Stage four gallery

Stage three gallery

Stage two gallery

Stage one gallery

Team presentation gallery

Giro d’Italia 2013: Videos

Giro final week preview

Giro week two preview

Giro first week video preview