Astana ended its season prematurely when it suspended itself from racing and missed the Tour of Beijing after confirmation of the second EPO positive, as per Movement for Credible Cycling regulations. The UCI said recently that the matter had raised questions over the team’s management, while Astana has promised an internal investigation.
“It’s been taken very badly. You know how I think about doping. Anyone who tries to be clever like that is an imbecile,” Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Will there be consequences for Astana’s WorldTour licence? I don’t know.”
Nibali was speaking during a visit to Gazzetta’s offices in Milan, where he admitted that he is tempted by the prospect of riding both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2015, but poured cold water on Oleg Tinkov’s proposed Grand Tour challenge.
The Sicilian skipped the Giro this season in order to focus on his Tour preparation, but said that he is open to the prospect of returning next year to the race he won in 2013. He pointed out, however, that Astana manager Alexandre Vinokourov has already ear-marked Fabio Aru for the Giro.
“I would really like that a lot and to ride it as a protagonist,” Nibali said of the prospect of riding next year’s Giro. “I would come to win it, and then afterwards I’d think about the Tour. It would be a choice made with the heart. But as you know, there’s Fabio Aru in the team too. He wants space and the team believes a lot in him.
“I could do the Giro, and I’ve already hinted that to Vinokourov. You can discuss things well with him face to face, in Italian, even if sometimes he can change idea. His answer was that Aru is there, and our sponsors like him a lot. At the end of November we’ll discuss the situation.”
Nibali insisted that he would have no qualms about riding at the Giro on the same team as Aru, who finished an impressive third this year. Team leadership, he said, would be decided on the road.
“We’d need to see what our condition was, and be good and not argue. It’s a matter that would be decided between us, the team car would stay out of it. Work for him? Why not, if the race plays out in a certain way.”
While Nibali was bullish about the idea of tackling the Giro-Tour double, he appears somewhat less enthused by Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov’s proposal that he ride all three Grand Tours alongside Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana.
“You feel each of those races in your legs and your head, they stay with you,” Nibali said. “You’d have to wipe out everything else, like Tirreno-Adriatico and the Classics… It would be race-training camp, race-training camp, race-training camp – in short, you’d be cut off from the world. And what about your family? Where does it end?”