ITALIAN cyclist Vincenzo Nibali, who won La Vuelta in 2010, has been disqualified from this year’s race after being filmed holding on to his support car and thereby gaining an advantage.
Pictures of the incident were broadcast by the TV channel Eurosport as the race progressed on Sunday August 24. They showed his team car pull up alongside him and then drive off with Nibali clearly holding on to the team car.
Having crashed with only about 30 kilometres of the 158.7 kilometres of stage two of the race, which ran from Alhaurin de la Torre to Caminito del Rey, left he lost one minute and 30 seconds so a 200-metre tow would have helped him to catch up with the leaders. He immediately posted on his Facebook page following the news of his disqualification making a public apology.
Nibali is one of only six cyclists who have won the three Grand Tours – the 2010 Vuelta a España, the 2013 Giro d’Italia and the 2014 Tour de France, and is a fierce rival of Chris Froome who is hoping to add La Vuelta to his win this year at the Tour de France.
Having spent several days in the Costa del Sol, the race will shortly move north and finish in Madrid on September 13.