The UCI has reportedly told Vincenzo Nibali he may not race until the Vuelta is over a fortnight on Sunday – three weeks after the Astana rider was thrown off the Spanish Grand Tour for holding onto a team car.
Earlier this week, the 30-year-old Sicilian told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he hoped to race in this weekend’s GP Plouay in France, as well as in the two UCI WorldTour one-day races in Quebec and Montreal next month.
But the Italian sports daily has reported today that the sport’s governing body has reiterated that under article 12.1.023, he cannot ride until the race from which he was disqualified has run its course.
The ban will affect Nibali’s preparations for next month’s UCI Road World Championships, with the elite men’s road race due to take place on Sunday 27 September.
His return to racing is now scheduled for just a week and a half before that at the Coppa Agostini on Wednesday 16 September – one of four domestic one day races that national coach Davide Cassani has called on his team to ride ahead of their departure for the United States.
In the wake of his expulsion from the Giro, Nibali, who has apologised for his actions, has also deactivated his Twitter account, complaining about the abuse he received from users of the social network in the aftermath of the incident.
There are precedents for riders who fail to finish a Grand Tour taking part in another race while it is still under way – not least Mark Cavendish, who abandoned the 2011 Vuelta through illness, rode the Tour of Britain which coincided with the final week of the Spanish race, then a week later won the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen.
In order to take part in the Tour of Britain, he had to secure the permission of both the Vuelta organisers and the UCI, which was duly granted under a different section of the governing body’s rules to the one that applies in Nibali’s case, which falls under the heading of Discipline.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.