Caminito del Rey, Spain, Aug 23, 2015 (AFP) – Three-time Grand Tour winner
Vincenzo Nibali has been disqualified from Spain’s Vuelta, race organisers
confirmed on Sunday for being towed by his Astana team car during the second
The Italian 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 team car as he attempted to make it
back towards the peloton.
“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.
Photo: Cor Vos