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Vincenzo Nibali disqualified from Vuelta a Espana

Vicenzo Nibali has been disqualified from the 2015 Vuelta a Espana (Image: Team Sky).
Editor
24th August, 2015
3

The good news story to come out of Stage 2 of the 2015 Vuelta a Espana was Esteban Chavez (Orica-GreenEDGE) riding away with the stage win on the hilly finish and taking the red leader’s jersey, however it’s not what the stage will be remembered for.

One of the pre-race favourites Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was disqualified after he was found to have received a tow from his team car throughout the stage.

Nibali will not begin Stage 3 in a massive hit to the 2014 Tour de France winner, who by his lofty standards has had a poor season in 2015.

Following a crash inside the final 30 kilometres of the stage to Caminito Del Ray, Nibali was pictured by television cameras holding onto the car to try and get back into the main field. The move has blown up in his face as race organisers decided it was enough to disqualify him.

Nibali was at la Vuelta to make amends for a poor Tour de France campaign, where he looked nothing like the rider who danced away with the overall victory in 2014.

Directeur sportif Alexandre Shefer, who was driving the car Nibali used, has also been expelled from the race. This will disadvantage the rest of the team as Astana will be down to the single team car for the next couple of stages.

In a statement, head commissaire Bruno Valcic said, “The film is very clear, it shows that Nibali has put his hand on the car for 100 metres.

“So the penalty for this is very clear. The decision of the commissaires is very clear, Vincenzo Nibali has been disqualified from the race.”

Astana had a fantastic roster for the year’s final Grand Tour, with Nibali to receive help from Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa, who finished second and third respectively at this year’s Giro d’Italia.

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It also another black mark against the Astana squad, who have had numerous riders suspended for doping, and almost had their UCI licence revoked earlier this season.

Acts like this must be stamped out. Astana said they are “sorry for the error” in a statement after the official judgement was handed down.