Following the furore about Vincenzo Nibali’s expulsion from the Vuelta a Espana, the Astana rider has reportedly suspended his account on Twitter.
Nibali’s Facebook account is still open but his verified Twitter account @VincenzoNibali no longer exists. The Sicillian told Cyclingnews that he decided to suspend his account after the abuse and criticism he got via social media.
"I remembered that Bradley Wiggins suspended his account after getting a lot of abuse on Twitter and I've decided to do the same," Nibali told Cyclingnews.
"There are some crazy people out there who think they can abuse people via social media and the abuse made me angry. I've decided to take a break and suspend my account until things calm down."
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday, Nibali fought back against the criticism he had received since being expelled from the Vuelta on Sunday for taking a long tow from an Astana team car after being delayed in a huge crash. Race judges said they had no alternative but to disqualify Nibali from the Vuelta.
“I don’t like being treated like a monster because I’m not,” Nibali said in the interview in La Gazzetta dello Sport. “A lot of bad things have been said about me. I don’t know if it's because of jealousy or something… On the internet someone has even described what I did as one of the five worst things ever seen in cycling.”
Nibali called on the Astana team to allow him to recreate his close-knit group of riders and staff within the team, convinced this will give him peace of mind and so help him perform better. He also explained that he hopes the UCI will quickly give him permission to return to racing following his expulsion from the Vuelta.
Click here to read the full interview story.