The Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali, the 2014 winner of the Tour de France, has been disqualified from the Vuelta a Espaa after he got a tow from his Astana team car following a crash in Sundays second stage into Caminito del Rey.
Television footage clearly showed Nibali, who won the Vuelta in 2010, hanging on to the car as he tried to catch up with the leaders in the final 30km and organisers had no choice but to expel him.
Basing their decision on television images clearly showing an infringement of the rules, the Vuelta race commissaires decided to take him out of the race, organisers said in a statement.
The film shows clearly that Nibali was clinging to the car for 200 metres, added Bruno Valcic, the president of the race commissaires.
Astanas director, Alexandre Shefer, who was driving the car, is also out of the race, he said. It was a tough decision for the commissaires panel but after looking at the images it was clear that we had no opportunity to give any other penalty to the rider.
The stage went better for Colombias Orica-GreenEdge as their rider Esteban Chaves snatched the early lead when he surged clear at the finish. Chaves pipped the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin to the line in the 158.7km trek by one second, with Team Skys Nicolas Roche a further eight seconds back in third. Chris Froome, the 2015 Tour de France winner who is going for a rare Tour-Vuelta double, was seventh, 30 seconds behind Chaves.
We talked among ourselves and how to deal with everyone around us and the main thing to do was to attack these guys so thats what we did, Chaves said.
I felt like I was in a good position and in the end I did it and I got this [red] jersey. At this point Ive just got to keep going and be happy about this day and think about tomorrow.