Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Aug 23, 2015 – Three-time Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali has been disqualified from Spain’s Vuelta, race organizers confirmed on Sunday for being towed by his Astana team car during the second stage.
The Italian had been one of a number of riders caught up in a crash 30 kilometers 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 favorites.”
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 him. “The judges decided that an action of this type creates a precedent for other riders.” 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.
Nibali hangs onto team car: