Caminito del Rey, Spain, Aug 23, 2015 (AFP) – The 2014 Tour de France
winner Vincenzo Nibali was disqualified from Spain’s Vuelta on Sunday for
being towed by his team car while Colombian Esteban Chaves claimed the second
stage and overall lead.
Italy’s Nibali, a three-time Grand Tour winner, had been one of a number of
riders caught up in a crash 30 kilometres from the finish line of the 158.7km
ride from Alhaurin de la Torre to Caminito del Rey.
Having been distanced from the peloton he managed to make up the lost
ground only to lose over a minute on general classification rivals Nairo
Quintana, Chris Froome and Alejandro Valverde on the final category three
climb to the finish.
However, television footage emerged soon after the end of the stage showing
Nibali accelerating rapidly alongside his Astana team car as he attempted to
make it back.
“We have been informed by the decision of the technical judge,” director
general of the Vuelta, Javier Guillen, told reporters.
“The act carried out by the rider is bad for cycling, for the rider, for
the Vuelta and its image because we lose one of the favourites.”
Astana have been embroiled in a string of controversies due to failed
doping tests in recent years with their WorldTour licence for this year nearly
revoked by the sport’s governing body the UCI.
“We have spoken with the judges and their decision was clear to disqualify
Nibali,” said Astana sport director Stefano Zanini.
“We asked for leniency, asking for a time sanction but not to disqualify
“The judges decided that an action of this type creates a precedent for
Nibali was also involved in a series of clashes with Froome at the Tour de
France last month with the Sky rider declaring the Italian “unsportsmanlike”
for an attack as Froome suffered a mechanical problem.
Froome was disqualified in similar circumstances from the Giro d’Italia in
2010 for holding onto a motorbike.
Chaves edged out Dutchman Tom Dumoulin in a sprint finish to win Sunday’s
stage in a time of 3hr 57min 15sec ahead of Ireland’s Nicholas Roche in third.
Tour de France champion Froome lost four seconds to Nairo Quintana on the
“It is my first win in a three-week tour. It’s incredible,” said Chaves.
“I hope to hold onto the red jersey (the overall leader) for as long as
Froome is attempting to become only the third man to win the Tour de France
and the Vuelta in the same year.
However, it was Quintana who took an early lead in the battle for the
general classification victory as he came in one place ahead of Froome in
sixth just 36 seconds behind the leaders.
“I tried to go from far out. It was a climb for explosive riders, I tried
but the heat affected me,” said Quintana.
“I saw that Chaves was stronger than those of us in the breakaway, he is a
very smart rider and I am happy that one of my compatriots won.”
Results from Vuelta second
stage, a 158.7km ride from Alhaurin de la Torre to Caminito del Rey on Sunday:
1. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 3hr 57min 25sec, 2. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) at
0:01sec, 3. Nicolas Roche (IRL/SKY) 0:09, 4. Daniel Martin (IRL/CAN) 0:14, 5.
Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 0:26, 6. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 0:26, 7. Chris
Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:30, 8. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 0:31, 9. Daniel Moreno
(ESP/KAT) 0:31, 10. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 0:37, 11. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 0:41,
12. Mikel Landa (ESP/AST) 0:41, 13. Romain Sicard (FRA/EUC) 0:41, 14. Jim
Songezo (RSA/MTN) 0:42, 15. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 0:45, 16. Gianluca
Brambilla (ITA/ETI) 0:54, 17. Stephane Rossetto (FRA/COF) 0:54, 18. Domenico
Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 0:54, 19. André Cardoso (POR/CAN) 0:54, 20. Jelle
Vanendert (BEL/LOT) 1min 04sec
1. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 3hr 57min 15sec, 2. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) at
0:05sec, 3. Nicolas Roche (IRL/SKY) 0:15, 4. Daniel Martin (IRL/CAN) 0:24, 5.
Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 0:35, 6. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 0:36, 7.
Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 0:39, 8. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:40, 9. Daniel
Moreno (ESP/KAT) 0:41, 10. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 0:47, 11. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY)
0:51, 12. Mikel Landa (ESP/AST) 0:51, 13. Romain Sicard (FRA/EUC) 0:51, 14.
Jim Songezo (RSA/MTN) 0:52, 15. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 0:55, 16.
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/ETI) 1min 04sec, 17. Stephane Rossetto (FRA/COF) 1:04,
18. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 1:04, 19. Andre Cardoso (POR/CAN) 1:04, 20.
Jelle Vanendert (BEL/LOT) 1:04
Photos: Cor Vos