Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov writes to team after lack of results
- Vincenzo Nibali rumoured to be moving to another team after 2014

Vincenzo Nibali brushed aside reports that he and team Astana are at breaking point after rumours that the team’s general manager Alexandre Vinokourov sent him a message regarding his performance. However, the Italian said that Vinokourov wants him to think about winning the Tour de France and not the team’s lack of results.

“The story’s not true,” Nibali told Cycling Weekly. “Vino wrote to the team, not me personally, and told us to try to work together and focus on reaching our goals because Astana is one of the big and important teams.”

Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper reported it differently. It wrote on Friday that Vinokourov sent Nibali an e-mail personally to express his concern.

“We want big results,” the e-mail reportedly read. “We don’t want excuses, ifs and buts. We are not interested in reasons, but results. Up until now, we have not seen them. Like this, things aren’t going well for us.”

Nibali called the article “crazy.” “It’s not true. Vino said to me, ‘Stay calm. Our goal is the Tour de France. We have to do the best there.'”

An article in the next day’s newspaper said that Nibali is about ready to jump ship. It linked him to teams Cannondale and Trek for 2015. To do so, he would have to break his contract, reported at nearly €4m annually, which runs through 2016.

“Leaving for 2015 or 2016? No. No. For sure, no,” he said. “There are teams that are interested, for sure, but there’s nothing. I signed again last year, renewing my contract for two years.”

Nibali joined the Kazakh team from Cannondale, formally Liquigas, ahead of last year. In the 2013 season, he won Tirreno-Adriatico and the Giro del Trentino en route to the Giro d’Italia title. He continued later in the season and placed second in the Vuelta a España.

He has been active in many races this year, but his best result so far has been a fifth overall in the Tour of Romandie. His Tour de France rivals have been more successful. Alberto Contador won Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Basque Country, and Froome the Tour of Oman and Romandy.

“I’m not worried. I also had a quiet start two years ago [before placing third in the Tour]. I’ve worked hard, I’ve trained at altitude, and the goal remains the Tour in July.”

  • Keith Miller

    I wonder if the current problem surrounding Astana has anything to do with why Contador cut and ran to another Team as fast as he possibly could as soon as an apparent opportunity arose.. Label me a cynic if you like, but strong smells linger for a long, long time.Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……….

  • NitroFan

    The one thing I will say in David Millar’s defence is I do admire his very open very public “I am an Ex Doper but I am Anti doping “stance he adopts.When i read his book I wanted to hug him (In a supportive manner!) and hit him in equal measure. But sadly if we are to rid Cycling of this scourge there has to be a no exceptions policy.

  • Cliff

    I’m not struggling with any of it. What I struggle with is the double standards that many people (not necessarily you) seem to apply to “dopers”: some (such as Vino and Armstrong) are vilified, whilst others (David Millar, Tom Simpson, Pantani) are forgiven. If we’re to beat doping we have to apply the same standards to everyone.

  • NitroFan

    Which part of my post are you struggling with?

  • Cliff

    Does that include David Millar?

  • dourscot

    Vinokourov’s recipe for success is known all over the world.

  • NitroFan

    I am sure Vino would love to inject some of his performance into the Astana squad.
    The bloke has no place in modern cycling the UCI need to ban dopers from ALL aspects of the sport.

  • Mike Hedger

    Love to know what Vino’s prescription for success is