Astana team leader out of the Vuelta on stage two after being caught on camera taking a tow

Astana team leader Vincenzo Nibali has been disqualified from the Vuelta a España for taking unauthorised assistance from his team car on stage two.

Video footage shows Nibali driving hard to catch up after he was distanced from the front of the peloton by a crash with about 30km to go on the run in to Caminito del Rey. As the Astana team car makes its way past the chasing group and pulls alongside its rider, it appears that the Italian national champion took hold of the vehicle to pull him closer to the peloton.

“We saw the videos,” said the race jury president, Bruno Valcic. “We watched the film together with Astana director Stefano Zanini.

“The penalties are really clear — the commissaires had to disqualify Nibali from the race. The sports director driving the car, Alexandre Shefer, is also out of the race.”

Astana team manager Guiseppe Martinelli accepted that his team had broken the rules, but told Cycling Weekly: “Any director would have done the same thing in our situation. I’ve seen this a thousand times before, at the Tour, everywhere.

“If they want to send Nibali home, it’d be a shame.”

This incident, and Nibali’s absence going forward, opens the door for other Astana riders to take the lead, namely Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa. The two riders finished second and third respectively behind Alberto Contador at the Giro d’Italia earlier this season, and should now have a freer rein as the Vuelta continues.

Despite the more obvious opinion to the contrary, Nibali’s absence could be a negative thing for Astana’s rivals as the team may have a clearer strategy for the remainder of the race, and could put more man power behind the fresher legs of Aru, for example.

Only time will tell how the race pans out, and if this is the end of the incident. With the controversy over the time neutralisation of the opening stage team time trial and now the removal of one of the favourites on stage two, this has certainly been an exciting opening weekend to the season’s final Grand Tour — the racing was pretty good today, too.

  • RobTM

    Seens some scots bands in Scotland, Runrig & Nazareth were great gigs.
    Well I’m amused by some trollish stuff… you heard about “sledging” in cricket? Banter’s part of the game, search “flintoff sledging cricket” for some examples

  • David Sundheim

    Yikes! I just watched it very cringe inducing.

    This is so weird having a friendly chat after all the bantering previously. ;).

    Makes me wonder what else we have in common, The Smiths? The Stone Roses? The Cure? Cranes? Joy Division? Belle & Sebastian (I know, I know, they’re Scottish, but I had to throw in someone Modern as to cover up my 80’s disposition).

  • RobTM

    Well, Bolt’s lucky.. weird how something like taking your shoes off, can end up helping. Track spikes would mean the feet don’t slip, so the impact to Achille’s would probably have been far more serious. Some great soccer players have been taken out by such impacts when tackled

  • David Sundheim

    No I didn’t… I am very myopic. If you think I know very little about cycling, my knowledge of running is only slightly above that of a newborn! 😉

    I am terrible at running so I never do it. However, I believe it to be the purest form of athletic endeavor, no need of equipment, no ball, or goal, or hoop or other props, everyone can do it, yet nowhere near everyone is good at it.

    Sadly, to me running after highschool, running has been relegated to a “self defense” mechanism. A basic instinct that takes over when I know fighting won’t work ;). I will check out the video though sounds like a close call.

  • RobTM

    Did you see Usain Bolt taken down by a Segway? Saved by being barefoot, if he’d still had spikes on his feet would not have slipped on the track surface and gone out from under him!

  • RobTM

    Oh I used to run XC in winter, never did XC ski-ing but Alpine slalom & GS/
    Ah Sondre… the man who shaped the ski! I wish bike falls, were more like ski crashes 🙂

  • David Sundheim

    A ski-racer you say? I as a Minnesotan I do quite a bit of XC skiing, but no racing, just trying to stay active in the winter and maybe shed my sizeable American gut. I also just enjoy being in the woods. In fact I only live a few hours drive from the final resting place of Sondre Nordheim.

  • RobTM

    Wow! Sometimes you really surprise me 🙂
    Ah my racing nothing special, I was a ski-racer and athlete before I tried competing on a bike.. it just seemed like I’d never get the equipment. I’ve raced for Beeston RC & CC, but I don’t want to get into that.
    FWIW I don’t blame Nibs for attacking then.. like I say, Froome was dogging him irrationally (prob. cos’ of bottle-chuck-gate) and Astana needed a win and some straw to clutch. I just wish, Nibs had said.. “Man, I was 8 mins down and desperate to win some time back, and my team needed a stage win.”
    Crunch tomorrow at the Vuelta, Froome’s a little fatter, Quintana and him have been relatively subdued, I think they’re deliberately come in, below 100% and aim to come good week 2 & 3

  • David Sundheim

    For the record I believe he lied as well and it happened just as you described.

    I was trying to box you up with my Perry Mason-like closing arguments. And you evaded my box by answering no, I wasn’t ready for that one ;). To me, it was a box Houdini himself couldn’t Escape, and then you answered “No” pulling off a nice escape.

    Nibali’s has a track record this year of a petulant child, and there are many reasons to doubt him. As fans we see the tape, and when it doesn’t mesh, we all have the right to draw our own conclusions, or simply put, “call it as we see it”.

    Largely that’s what I do whether it’s Nibali clearly attacking Froome in trouble, or Stage 10 being blown out of the Water, I may be wrong but I just call it as I see it. And the weak explanations are not enough to dispel my suspicions.

    I have no proof in either situation, just my hunches, and interpretation of what I saw. I am only following racing (which as an American is admittedly a sizeable one).

    It sounds like you do quite a bit of racing what’s the name of your club? How many years have you been into cycling? Which Cat?

    You don’t have to answer the personal stuff, just trying to make a friendly chat and see how you earned such acumen.

  • RobTM

    No, I’m saying I believe he lied. There’s the body language to, a motivation for spinning it, and he didn’t set himself up into an attacking position.
    Didn’t you notice Quintana sitting on Froome’s rear wheel, for almost the whole last 2 weeks of TdF? He wanted attack opportunities, you do that from the rear, not in front of someone.
    Nibali just wasn’t credible, he’d had Froome cover his every attack attempt, when he started riding better and the guy was looking twice in Froome’s direction not surveying the group.. wrong position, wrong action, wrong explanation

  • David Sundheim

    So are you actually going to sit there and say, based on your INTERPRETATION of the film, Nibali’s weak explanation doesn’t mesh up with what you see on the tape enough to give him the benefit of the doubt, even though HE (NOT YOU) was the one riding on the road, in that situation, in that moment?

  • RobTM

    Camera catches not a glance, not a signal, but a double take to check what happened, it has Froome & Nibali in line, with Nibs full face looking back at Froome, not the riders he was moving with. NIbali was very near Froome initially when there was an issue, you HEAR stones catching in wheels and brakes, THAT is what attracted Nibs’s attention.
    Secondly, you don’t attack from front of a group, but a little back and very commonly the rider moves off to the side to accelerate whilst delaying the overtake, so you get a jump by accelerating before the riders see your move. When you go from front, riders tend to just cling onto your wheel.
    Thirdly, Kangert who? He attacked did he and rode with Nibali? lol NO.
    Fourthly, Froome was accused of causing a crash by Nibs, did he apologise wholesomely, or did he whine about being livid and poor him and a lot of self serving self centred crap?
    Fifthly, Nibs just explained he cheated in unsportsmanlike way with sticky car because everyone does and he thought the penalty would be less. The guys in that group were shouting at him, yet he continued.
    Nibalis is NOT an honest man. Only the naive, or a fan will believe his account, he lied because he did not want to admit his stage winning move was attacking yellow during a mechanical.

  • David Sundheim

    Well, if I am to go by your Take them at their word approach. I have to believe Nibali; “When I looked back, it was to look at Kangert. We did the race on the Col de la Croix de Fer and were planning to make a big attack,” there is no way for us to see for sure which rider his eyes were looking back toward. So unless you can provide which rider he was looking at, it’s a “Baseless claim” and a quite “Serious charge your Leveling against him”…

    Blah blah blah

    I know you’re not going to measure Nibali by the same standard you insist on for all your guys. Just proves you’re making it up as you go along and typing out of both sides of your mouth.

  • RobTM

    I’m not interested in fan boy nonsense. If you haven’t noticed these posts are unusually long, so adding padding seems perverse. BTW Remember I did say NOONE can PROVE they are clean, so there’s never certainty, everything is “may be”.

    Just have facts straight, like you mentioned Froome’s Giro DQ and you’ll get a better response. It was a good contribution. I actually watched a re-run of TdF highlights to check the impression. What stuck out was, “Nibali, I didn’t look (TV showed he did) and it’s Froome’s word against mine”, basically translated “I lie but Froome cannot prove it.”
    You have strong views, you ought have exceptional evidence to back them up. There’s far too much trollish smear stuff like the French TV fantasy power data around, which is damaging the sport.

  • David Sundheim

    Of course you are…that’s real rich Rob.

    It must be nice living in you world. Where all the athletes and team s are on the up and up and we should all just take them at their word, well… Because they said so.

    You’re not interested in enlightening conversation. Your more interested in correcting those who aren’t in line with your “President of the Brittish fanclub Page” way of thinking. You insist you are not a fan, but remain unbudging and refuse to entertain the notion there might ever be a second side to the coin.

    In our convos you have never said any; “well maybe”, “we’ll have to wait and see”, or “we will never know” responses. You simply stick to your script and regurgitate the same biased support.

    You’re a talented typer and can craft a well thought out, and well spoken response, although by now, your inability to change, acquiesce, or even admit “I can see where you’re coming from” has taught me your positions are decided upon before the conversation ever started.

    I don’t have the time for this nonsense anymore, you were never interested in engaging debates. Engaging in battle to win arguments is preferred. Enlightening convo was never the goal.

    In a way, I admire you strength of stance, but by remaining firm in your resolve and unyielding, it comes off as stubborn and pigheadish to me now.

    I have enjoyed some of the more enlightening moments you have brought to me, but I am quite done with all this. I wish you best regards and good luck getting that Team Sky PR department job. If they haven’t seen your work here they’re missing out.

  • RobTM

    Well I am totally confused by a scatter gun approach, have a nice day 🙂

  • David Sundheim

    I am not leveling a charge against him at all! But just refuting the idea that it can’t happen on a scale that big. With Big business and big dollars there will always be corruption, yes even in the highest places.

    I understand he is not the sole decision maker. Maybe I put too much into his role, and for that I am sorry, but don’t pretend he has no power, and that he is just some figurehead with little to no say in the matter.

    Also I believe you are mistaken in your grouping of all media outlets and reporters as a bunch of story hungry vultures just waiting for the next juicy story. They are often well informed. Close to the sport or beat they follow and not just sensationalizing people. I have to believe some of them want to search for the truth. And report honestly.

    Regarding lack of whistleblowers, Thor Hushovd could have blown LA years ago if you believe him. They were not even on the same team, so why did he stay quiet? Because as long as that individual stands to lose more than they would gain (even a good payday for a juicy story as you purport) they will keep quiet. Unless they have an axe to grind and want to bring the guilty individuals down. Very little of them do it because it’s simply the right thing to do… Ever notice how their conscience kicks in after they are out of cycling?

    And all your cute little terms like “motivated reasoning” and “outcome bias” don’t do anything to disprove my valid points. Just because you can ascribe a title to a tatic of argument or persuasion, has no bearing on the legitimacy behind the claims.

  • RobTM

    Thomas was beat on just about every Alp stage by them.. that’s how he slid down in GC. You know Thomas, was busy on track team pursuit rather than serious road, winning multiple Gold medals with Wiggins? Know he won junior Roubaix race. He’s good, but very unlikely to manage what Wiggins did and become a TdF favourite (2011 & 2012).

    You level a charge at Cookson.. actually a serious one. totally fail to realise the outcome was NOT Cookson’s decision, he could only press to initiate action. Don’t blame ppl for things not in their control.

    Stuff happens all the time, but it’s best to weigh up evidence and shoot at fair targets, not spray mud everywhere and see if any sticks

  • David Sundheim

    Governments being corrupt can’t really be that far out there of an idea. Misappropriation of funds, looking the other way, sweeping under the rug happens every day! In all forms of governing bodies! It’s not that incredulous.

    And which stage was Thomas beaten by the 24year olds? The one he lost 22min and was beaten by almost everyone? Including riders of all ages across the board?

    To me the fact that 24 yr olds beat him proves my point. If they are to have Grand Tour potential you can usually see signs of such promise long before 30… Young men like Barguil, Bardet, Pinot, And Van Garderen have all been touted as future hopefuls for years now. That is my point exactly!

  • RobTM

    Jeezo.. it’s NOT support, it’s what happened. There’s a court for sporting arbitration to take into account and so on. The media want a story, preferably simple and dramatic, so EITHER Astana gets booted and then they write about harsh sanctioon and legal appeals, or it’s awful that no effective sanction happens when actually something is on-going to raise standards. Bottom line is.. Cookson wasn’t the judge.

    I think you’re showing signs of “motivated reasoning”, basically you start with a conclusion.. “suspicions about a team”, then look for any evidence to back it. But evidence against is ignored, like 100’s of clean tests, a government that put public money into testing at national events in the late 80’s for clean sport, plus a lack of whistle-blowers who COULD get money off newspapers for stories they can back with evidence.

    Some ppl in my cycling club, liked to be cynical and make insinuations after TdF win 2012 about Sky.. but it’s 2015 and STILL there’s nothing real and solid they found. The rider signed from Endura, Tiernan-Locke was banned over bio passport irrgularities pre-Sky and dumped having already under-performed in new team, suggesting if anything a clean up at Sky. No failed test, yet no-one supports him in media and probably a cold reception once he’s served his ban.

    Cobble stage was early on, Nibs had only dropped a minute or 2 in the wind, and following near the front reduces crashes. It was later on, when climb attacks were shut down super quickly uncessarily, that I thought it odd. One tour Valverde was mad with Contador for dissing Quintana, so Valverde basically helped Rodrigues to a win by having whole Movistar team help Katusha lol It’s why you are unwise to make enemies.. the nice guys get more leeway praps

    Porte did well on first Pyrenees stage.. may be he went too deep then. I think he suffered slightly ill, was on light duties; he was also punched by a spectator, then performed when needed again on Alp D’Huez. Hasn’t Porte had problem that he struggled at some point on long tours from inconsistency. Not all riders can keep recovering, or suffer badly after rest days. Thomas.. once again he’s a good all round rider, was NEEDED to perform in TdF, when Porte had problems.. but then paid for it later in Alps.. he was beaten by many 24yr olds, whom you are NOT finger pointing at.

  • David Sundheim

    Early on the cobbled stage it absolutely seemed personal between the two. He was all over Nibali. And was not going to let him get away. I think was was part eager to prove he could handle the cobbles, part shut down Nibali, and part following Nibali is picking a good wheel for a treacherous course. Win, win and win for him.

    Maybe I wasn’t watching the same TdF as you were. Like I said before its not even Froome, who unfairly gets most of the finger pointing. I am more troubles by Thomas’ recently discovered new abilities, and Porte’s inability to be consistent. Sometimes he is average and other times he is super human. Then he get’s “sick”during the Tour, yet miraculously recovers just in time for Alp d’Huez. So many things seem fishy about the whole team. Unfairly though it usually just get pointed toward the team leader Froome. And I don’t care what question people have about him or his team. Throwing Urine is 100% disgracful! No rider deserves that treatment!

    I am not surprised that you support Brian Cookson, like everything else brittish, I get due process, but every major media outlet was shocked at the liniency he showed with Astana. I don’t want to be unfair to him at all, but is it really unfair to raise an eyebrow in that situation? After all Astana had done? I think less people would have been surprised had he revoked the world tour license.

  • RobTM

    You’re really being unfair to Cookson… there’s a due process, Astana appealed under that and there was a report finding… ignorance rather than malice was cause, so they’re under probationary supervision. Cookson can’t act like a dictator, he has to follow procedures and avoid legal problems.

    There were plenty of attacks in TdF but they were generally feeble. Valverde going up road frequently only to hit reverse gear later and such. I thought Froome put feelers out, when they caught Contador, Nibali, Valverde on a bad day.. they went.. then Froome dropped Quintana to and even Porte finished faster to deny 2S bonus. Other times, there wasn’t an advantage and later in tour, he had signs of some bronchial issue… was coughing at finish about to shake Nairo’s hand for example. I think Froome was struggling not 100% the last few stages.

    Froome seemed to be like a rash on Nibali, over eager to close every move down given GC situation, it looked a little personal to me. He may actually have benefitted by waiting and seeing if others went and then drop any rivals who couldn’t raise pace

  • David Sundheim

    Here is my counterpoint regarding Froome’s covering of attacks. He still left most of the heavy lifting to Thomas, Porte, and Poels, who all worked incredibly hard during the Tour, as a team they expenses energy yes, but they had tons of help from Movistar, to shut down Nibali and Contador. Valverde was all over those guys wheels.

    Froome didn’t do much attacking in my estimation. It’s not about romantics for me, like pulling off the impossible, its just about courage and combativeness that I like. Racing to win! Not just racing Not to lose! Does that make sense?

    The two things I like about Froome are when he attacks. He has a very sneaky attack, he just remains seated and ups the cadence, he doesn’t telegraph it by standing to surge every time he wants to go and that is hardcore. Also his cadence in general is a thing of beauty. His fight with Contador in last year’s Vuelta was awesome! The Vuelta and Giro for me are the best Grand Tours of the year, even though the Tour usually get the top talent and billing.

    I like seeing the Mano Y Mano battles. No matter which of the heavyweights is in them. Horner V Nibali in 2013 on L’angliru was another example of why I like the Vuelta.

    I have done research in response to my questions… We don’t need to get into that again. But the Video with the leaked data, the relationship with Geert Leinders, other articles online, etc. But the problem is the answers are usually as weak as the evidence that raises the questions. I found many of the answers provided insufficient. Like when kerrison gave his version of the data explanation. There are endless articles pro and con, on the same issue surrounding the team. To me questions outnumber the answers.

    And I don’t agree with you that Lance got away with it all because of a lax UCI. And now we’re out of that era, Brian Cookson had a wonderful chance to show his position and stand tall, Instead he gave Astana a slap on the wrist. So I can’t trust this regime any more than the last. He had the perfect opportunity to set an example and missed out.

  • RobTM

    Yes, I get it. But just remember that guy was not me.
    Riding hard is aggressive.. attacks come when everyone has slacked off a bit; just look at how they generally fail when the speeds are high near end of flat stages, becuase of high air resistance. You want the romantic long breaks and riders able to put in gaps on climbs, without blowing up or just being clawed back. But it’s sport, it’s up to other competitors to combat strong tactics and we have seen attempts at 2 pronged attacks and such to beat Froome, which I find fascinating. In a way the big dope era TdF’s WERE exciting, because of unpredictable super-human performances, things like Vino recovering from a bad day, as if he had fresh blood.. and then later we found that was EXACTLY what he had done. Last few years, the guys have seemed pretty knackered and be very careful about the efforts they made, Froome seemed a bit careless actually chasing breaks too fast, or riders like Nibs who were too far down to threaten him.

    At times, I have wondered why Sky aren’t saving energy and letting another team tire themselves, with Sky looking to go on offense.
    When I have suspicions, I tend to ask questions after some research. FWIW I never believed LA was clean, the net was used less, but mud slinging rarely is illuminating.
    Mentioning about Froome’s Giro DQ, WAS enlightening and I read how it had been covered in CW here 🙂

  • David Sundheim

    Thank you for that sensible and Honest reply. I totally agree. Sometimes my emotions do get the best of me. But I just want to see consistency. Froome is incredibly likeable. Seems like a guy I could be friends with, unlike Nibali, in fact. I just get worked up because cycling fans, like many fans, want it both ways. They demand proof, if someone questions their guys, yet they themselves operate on the “Where there’s Smoke there’s fire” logic when it suits them denegrating a different rider. I just ask for consistency. Either reserve judgment, or like me, if you want to make insinuations because you have suspinions not so easily silenced, open yourself up to the possibility that MY/ OUR own guys could be liars and cheats, no matter how likeable they may be. You really impressed me with your last response. One guy called me “Truly Pathetic” and demanded proof from me. I don’t have proof, and I don’t need Proof for my Beliefs. They’re mine and I remain suspicious although I accept I could be wrong. I hope I am, and would fully apologize to team Sky for what it’s worth. But name calling? How am I Pathetic as a husband? A Father? A regular guy who might not understand cycling fully? As a cycling fan in general? So I have a suspicious nature, and have been taught by past cyclists and athletes that heroes can fall, and heroes lie too. Good people are capable of dastardly things. That’s is why no one would surprise me if they got popped. I enjoy the sport and I don’t have all the answers by any means. I don’t need the world to like My guys, or the way I like cycling and think riders should ride aggressivly. I thank you for hearing me out and bringing me back to a level head. Like I said before all I ask is consistency Whatever side of the issue you want to be on.

  • RobTM

    Remember Hinault, attacked with minutes TdF lead, then blew up and lost all the time with interest to Lemond?

    Look 2013.. is not this year 🙂 When you’re being a Nibs fan, it’s not my role to gush about his achievements. In 2015 I think he’s suffered like Wiggins did in 2013.

    My issue with Nibali is the media dramas and apparent lack of honesty. Nibs chucks bottle, Froome came to resolve issue in Astana bus. Did Nibs have the sense to say little after and just say the misunderstanding was sorted? Similarly, his team problems have likely escalated because he was saying too much to the media, entertaining for us. Froome, yesterday when naturally asked about Nibs DQ, sensibly said “no comment” twice and did not add any fuel to fire. Nibali ought to learn from that.

    On Team Sky, I don’t think any objective review of evidence supports doping allegations. I don’t think they’re as invincible as you at times make out, whilst they do have 3/4 TdF’s they’re not by any means cleaning up in every big race, nor are they favourites in this Vuelta. On 2010 Giro I didn’t see anyone saying Froome shouldn’t have been DQ-ed, no matter how much sympathy they have with an abandoning rider.

    I’m not a FAN, but I don’t like unjustified defamation. I did say Wiggins rode horribly in 2013 Giro, becuase HE DID. He totally lost his bike handling in the wet which is embaressing for a UK rider (our tarmac is designed for wet so not as slippy in rain). Wiggo did do a cool bike park though 😉 N ibali looked by far the strongest rider in 2013 Giro, Wiggins didn’t look fit or well prepared and I thought it unprofessional.

    In CW comments, lots of ppl take shots, including many against Team Sky & British Cycling… some try to base views on some kind of relevant facts, that means at least you get some insight even if you disagree for other reasons.

    Now you seem to get a bit emotional. Checking facts and making a cogent argument, does help a debate. Habitual throwing in of accusations which appear unfounded, do NOT help credibility or a discussion.

  • David Sundheim

    You’re right about the race leader. And Froome is smart for riding as he does. It’s just not my preference.

    For all your disdain of Nibali you seem to remember all of the trash talking, dirt throwing and unsportsmanlike things he has done or said, yet conviently you claim to not remember any of his good moments outside of last year. Even this year he had a terrible Dauphiné but when he attacked the rain soaked stage from 60km out and put time into Froome. That was a memorable moment. Winning the 2013 Giro in a Blizzard, that was a Memorable even Quintana Winning his Giro in a blizzard after overcoming bronchitis the first 10 days, and when Nairo won on that stage in his Giro when everyone else with him refused to pull or work for 10km he made a statement. It’s funny how your memories of the 2013 were of how “horrible Wiggins & Froome rode”. All you do is hurl mud at Nibali and anyone outside of team Sky! And when Nibali wins in heroic fashion, you take away that it was only because your guys rode badly, not because Nibali rode supiriorly. I can’t take you seriously anymore. You always have the right answer. Team Sky is always right. Chris Froome is always right. And anyone who second guesses that, better “check their facts”. Your cycling analysis is about as unbiased as the infallible Mr. Brailsford. It seems to me CW is just your love letter to the National hero and his team. And an open fanpage for the slings and arrows you all to eagerly throw at the riders you don’t like… Namely Nibali. And please don’t flag this, just because it’s not what you wanted to hear. I don’t use foul language or the like, if someone disagrees with you you’re going to have to learn to deal with it sometime.

  • RobTM

    A race leader doesn’t usually have to attack (a climber with TT stage coming excepted), it’s up to those behind to get up the road. Froome covered attack after attack, rather well and they rode hard enough day after day to make it hard to attack effectively. If you hadn’t been so bored, may be you would have noticed the attempts and occasional back fires due to making such efforts.

    My memory’s not good enough to remember anything Nibali won since TdF 2014, except the TdF Alp stage, when he attacked with Froome stopping for mechancial, losing his punishment shadow for chucking his bottle and a media drama. May be his form has been better this year than the early grand tour time losses suggest and Vino of Astana is happy.

  • David Sundheim

    We get it… you hate Nibali and Love Froome. At least Nibali races with some courage. When he won his tour, sure the comp was watered down, but it was him taking the fight to them. Froome had one good stage, then did NOTHING! The rest was a boring victory parade and left the heavy lifting to Thomas, Porte, and Poels, never once did he try to attack them and put the anil in the coffin he was content just covering attacks. Nibali is a beast! And can win outside of the warm summer months too, nasty conditions, are his playground. That is what makes memorable racing for me anyway.

  • RobTM

    I reckon they saw no cameras, no commisaires, no specctators, so expected to get away with it nipping across a 35S gap, just forgot about TV copters and what other riders might say after. All the talk about accepting penalties was once facing a charge. At 14km out, the group 2 with Majka rejoined the peleton, he lost just 64S on stage winner, so Astana & Nibali would have been better just to be patient.
    May be he can launch a signature range of mitts, with high power magnets for car grabs?

  • David Sundheim

    It is funny! When I saw the video, it was like watching a video game, I couldn’t believe it. Obviously they realized they weren’t going to get away with it, they were gambling on a lesser penalty, and rightly so… Lost the gamble. Nibali’s attitude is something else though, and this coming from an admitted Nibali fan, what a baby! I think he may have sealed his fate with Astana and will leave early next season and be in different colors. I believe I heard speculation about EQS since he has a personal contract with Specialized, he would have to find a team they sponsor, unless I have it wrong.

  • RobTM

    Nibali wants to appear on Top Gear as the star on the very sticky car.

  • RobTM

    Nah David, everyone loves it! Such blatant NOT cycling that it’s funny, how did they ever think a team leader would get away with it?

  • Chris

    Quite clearly Nibali has been taking lessons off Jeremy Clarkson. POWER!!!

  • Richard

    You’ve got it wrong! The poor guy had just decided to put the hammer down and the car had to accerate to bridge the gap.

  • David Sundheim

    Oh yeah, when Froome did it his intentions were much more noble, but Nibali, we don’t like him so his cheating was Villainous. Don’t kid yourself both riders got what their brazen stupidity earned for them. Whether or not you can come up with a “good” and “Likely” excuse, that creates sympathy.

  • Sam Korn

    Froome was indeed DQ’d for hanging on, but this was even more severe. Froome was attempting to get to the top of a mountain to abandon; Nibali was attempting to gain a competitive advantage.

  • RobTM

    Yes.. Nibs attack on Stage 19 at 2015 TdF is one reason, combined with his covering lie, when TV showed him look twice at Froome stopping. Nibs best chance is that another rider is promoted to TdF leader by Vino and Nibs can then focus on his home tour again against slightly softer opposition

  • d9veNI

    Sorry Peter but you are talking nonsense.

  • RobTM

    he has form though like trash talking Wiggins in TdF 2012, when Wiggo & Froome then crushed him on the roads. How many Olympic medals has Nibs won? You earn respect by giving it, but Nibs lashes out blaming other people somewhat randomly when adversity strikes.
    Ironically in Vuelta build up when asked about TdF feud with Froome, he mentioned Froome being DQ-ed for tow from car from 2010 Giro, there’s an element of karma about this (Froome was injured and had help from police bike to summit, where he planned to meet soigneurs and abandon)

  • J1

    I get the feeling that not too many people are upset by this. I’m not sure Nibali will ever win a grand tour again and I’m not convinced he won the 2014 Tour fairly, I would not be shocked to see retrospective testing had turned up an anomaly in a few years time.

    Also, it should give Mikel Landa a shot at a Grand Tour. Aru had the Giro, Nibali had the Tour, so Landa should get a crack at the Vuelta. He was super strong at the Giro (hopefully nothing dodgy going on there), although he is leaving at the end of the season, so they might concentrate on Aru (I love his suffering face, hilarious).

  • blemcooper

    I’ve lost a bit of respect for Nibali this year, respect he gained largely from his efforts during his Vuelta win and more broadly how he quietly bided his time and worked his way up while on Liquigas, in Basso’s shadow. Now as a top dog, he seems to have transformed into a prima donna, perhaps a bit worried about the young thing nipping at his heels, while not being able to move up and away anymore.

  • blemcooper

    How does it support the notion of a weak UCI? They ejected him from the race after all. Or did you mean they were weak so Nibali thought he could get away with it? Or that they even allowed Astana to remain in existence as a UCI ProTeam given their recent doping positives?

  • David Sundheim

    Froome was DQ’d for the same thing a few years back. It’s a shame. I am no fan of Astana, but I do enjoy Nibali, I really hope he finds a different team next year, and they just part ways. I will miss watching him this time around though. What a knucklehead!

  • RobTM

    Well I’d be asking Nib’s what miles per gallon he gets 😉

  • RobTM

    And with 30KM to go, the peleton just is meant to forget about the break that’s > 1 minute ahead? Were they meant to slow down to?
    Did the break accelerate.. did peleton time to break reduce, due to an attack? No, no.. they just continued as is normal at that point in a stage

  • RobTM

    Nibali had no luck attacking up till then. Froome appeared to be punishing him for the bottle incident and inappropriate comments by tracking his every move, despite Nib’s poor GC situation. I suspect Nib’s realised it was chance to lose his shadow and the top GC contenders might well be inhibitted to follow him in the circumstances

  • Nigel Rue

    You mean sportsmanlike just like Nibali was when he attacked Froome at the TdF during his mechanical problems.

  • FPCyclist

    Right on! Do we know if a reporter got a comment from a rider in that grupo? I would pay to hear what they really thought of that maneuver from the Nibster!

  • FPCyclist

    Kevino, your comment left me laughing so hard tears came to my eyes. Well said, mate!

  • Peter Underwood

    What a shame that the peleton takes advantage of a mass crash like this. it would have been sportsmanlike not to go at top speed until the groups had re-formed.

  • RobTM

    And the defence is, “everyone else does it” *sigh*

  • blackbird014

    for sure he was not driving the car….

  • Nigel Rue

    The UCI always seems to give Astana the benefit of the doubt, so maybe they will claim Nibali was pushing the car along.

  • loz

    who needs drugs?

  • Philip Tate

    he went from 20mph to 60mph in 5 secs! Not exactly subtle

  • Dan

    The subtlety of that was comedic! It’s one thing taking a short tow with a sticky bottle, but he may have well just jumped in the team car, it would have had the same outcome.

  • FPCyclist

    Goodbye Mr. Nibs.

  • Kevino Daviessss

    Christ, they could have done it a bit more subtly, should have pulled over to side of road and given him a motorcycle in exchange to catch up with the peloton!

    Video footage is vintage, did you see how he went away from group when car came alongside……. Just like that!

    Sums up everything that’s wrong with pro cycling and a very weak UCI!!

  • GoatHerd

    I would have been sooooo angry if I was in that group…

  • Jim Crute

    Ya think!

  • Bob Cullinan

    Astana…cheating? No…really?!?