His participation in the Vuelta a España was cut short by his disqualification from the race for towing, and now Vincenzo Nibali’s stated intention to return to competition as soon as possible has been blocked.
The Italian rider was booted from the race after the conclusion of stage two. Footage emerged which showed him leading a chase group after he was delayed by a crash, then holding onto either his team car or a bottle extended from it.
This towing enabled him to rejoin the main favourites prior to the finish, but didn’t escape the attention of the race jury.
Once ejected, Nibali protested the severity of the treatment and said that he planned to return to racing in this Sunday’s GP Ouest France WorldTour race.
However Nibali has fallen foul of UCI regulation 12.01.23, which means he cannot take part. It states: “Any rider eliminated from a stage race shall not be permitted to participate in any other competition for the duration of the race for which he was penalised, on pain of a 15 day suspension and a fine of CHF 200 to CHF 1,000.”
While riders who withdraw from events through injury or illness may request permission from the race organisers and the UCI to compete elsewhere, this does not apply to those who are disqualified.
The UCI has therefore indicated that this rule is binding in Nibali’s case. As a result he must remain out of competition until after September 13, the day the Vuelta concludes.
Nibali’s preparation for the world road race championships will likely be compromised.