The Italian polemica that raged after RCS Sport cancelled stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico has passed as quickly as the bad weather that caused all the problems, with Vincenzo Nibali and RCS Sport’s head of cycling Mauro Vegni shaking hands and the Italian still likely to ride the Giro d’Italia and possibly even Saturday’s Milan-San Remo.
On Tuesday it emerged that Nibali has threatened to sue Dimension Data rider Matt Brammeier for a tweet that described Nibali as a “narrow minded, selfish moron”. Nibali felt offended by the tweet, considering it a severe lack of respect. The Astana team also headed to the Etixx-QuickStep bus on Monday morning to talk to Tony Martin, who poured oil on the fire by tweeting: "Matt, you’re a legend! I couldn’t say it better!"
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Nibali’s lawyer Fausto Malucchi will handle the case.
“Were trying to contact the riders involved to see what they say and if they apologise. If that happens I don’t think we’ll take hem to court,” Malucchi said. “We’ve always opted for zero tolerance in defamation cases but as this is a case involving fellow riders, there’s some tolerance.”
However the threat of legal action is expected to come to nothing after Brammeier apparently sent a note of apology without backing down from his critical position on Nibali’s stance against the decision to cancel stage 6.
It seems Nibali is more focused on securing assurances from RCS Sport that the much talked about UCI Extreme Weather Protocol will not affect the key mountain stages of the Giro d’Italia. Nibali wants to know the routes of any Plan B stages, so he can understand if the Giro d’Italia will still be decided in the mountains.
“We need to see plan Bs in the big races [in advance] in the case that that they are used on a day of bad weather,” Nibali argued at Tirreno-Adriatico.
"Look at 2013 that I won with Bardonecchia, Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Galibier. We encountered snow on almost all the finishes. If we had the protocol and they had to throw away all those stages what would happen? it's a legitimate concern of ours.”
Vegni was annoyed by Nibali’s criticism but has been careful not to upset him further, knowing that Nibali’s presence at the Giro d’Italia is important for the success of this year’s Corsa Rosa.
“I don’t think I need to clarify things. I can understand his disappointment but he also accepted that rider safety is important,” Vegni said.
“I want to be clear, we always have a plan B route ready. People are talking about the Giro d’Italia so lets take the Dolomite stage, which includes six climbs. We believe that any plan B has to have the same characteristics. The idea of a plan C, as people talked about for Sunday with a flat 70km circuit race, would have only put the riders at risk of riding in the wet and cold without being anything like the planned mountain stage. Does that makes sense? I don’t think so.”
Vegni is convinced Nibali will line up for the start of the Giro d’Italia in the Netherlands on May 6.
“I haven’t heard him say directly that he might not ride, so I’m not worried,” he told Cyclingnews.
“I understand he is disappointed but people’s anger always passes after the heat of the moment. Vincenzo is an intelligent person and he knows that people expect to see him in action on the roads of the Giro d’Italia.”