Shark still in Astana doghouse. Go-cart to Giro?
It appears that former Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali is still a disappointment to Astana team boss Alexander Vinokourov.
At the Astana gathering in Tuscany, the team engaged in several team building activities including a go-cart race. While the Italian Italian stage race star won the go-cart race, it was not enough to make up for his failure in this year’s Tour de France and later his disqualification from the Vuelta a Espana.
According to one source with direct knowledge of events, Vinokourov was disappointed with Nibali’s driving exploits. “It was not the Tour, it was just a go-cart race and Vino feels winning that means nothing,” said Mikel Fibski, a member of the Astana training staff.
Apparently, Vinokourov was “furious” that Nibali considered it another win for his palmares in 2015. “There was no Froome or Quintana in the go-carts. There were no UCI points, no prestige, no glory,” said Fibski. “Vino cannot understand why Nibali was excited to take the win in this kind of competition.”
While Nibali’s driving skills were on impressive display, he raced only against his own teammates and, as team captain, was given the fastest go-cart. Witnesses at the track said that Nibali barely edged out Fabio Aru and new teammate Eros Capecchi nearly passed him in a tricky chicane to upset the champion.
While there is no disputing that the go-cart race constituted a victory for Nibali, the extra two wheels, a motor and steering wheel and a total lack of World Tour competition, clearly diminished the quality of the victory.
“Nibali was happy to take the win, his form was excellent, he really dropped the hammer but go-cart wins are not a priority at Astana,” said Fibski. There is an unconfirmed rumor that Vinokourov has already written a letter to Nibali reminding him of the large difference between a grand tour victory and a go-cart triumph.
However, the go-cart victory in Tuscany may well set Nibali up with positive momentum for the 2016 season, when he will target the Giro d’Italia. “There is no question, a go-cart win in Tuscany is a good sign for the Giro in May,” said Fibski. “However, some high altitude training camps may prove more advantageous.”