A former winner of the Vuelta, Vincenzo Nibali has been thrown off the race before the real battle for 2015 overall honours has properly begun after the worst sticky bottle incident stickybottle has ever seen.
When the aerial footage in the clip below emerged it led head commissaire Bruno Valcic to announce the Italian’s immediate disqualification from the race.
And Astana directeur sportif Alexandre Shefer, who was driving the car Nibali took such a prolonged and high speed tow from, has also been put off the race.
Both men have been fined 200 Swiss Francs and Astana will only be permitted one team vehicle for tomorrow’s third stage and stage 4 on Tuesday.
The incident captured in the helicopter shots below occurred around 16km from the finish of today’s 165km leg.
Nibali came down in the major crash 30km from the finish. And after being forced to wait for a bike he had 1:30 to make up on the bunch.
His team mates dropped back to help him and the Italian got back to a chase group within 35 seconds of what remained of the main peloton.
However, obviously keen to get back to the head of the race before the final climb of the day to the finish, Nibali went to the front of the chase group, with his Astana team car pulling up alongside.
The aerial footage shows the Italian being towed off the front of that group, before the cameras pan away from the cheating taking place.
He managed to catch the peloton 3km after the incident captured in the foot below only to struggle on the final climb and lose 1:28 to stage winner Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge).
When the footage began circulating on social media after the stage, the race officials took action.
“The film is very clear, it shows that Nibali has put his hand on the car for 100 metres,” head commissaire Valcic said, though the full towing period may have been longer than seen on camera.
“So the penalty for this is very clear. The decision of the commissaires is very clear, Vincenzo Nibali has been disqualified from the race.”