Vincenzo Nibali: ‘Riders are the heart of the race - we need more safety’

The Italian speaks out about his season-altering injury suffered on the slopes of Alpe d’Huez

Vincenzo Nibali (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Vincenzo Nibali says more needs to be done to protect riders at the Tour de France after he suffered a serious injury during this year’s race.

The Italian was brought down after a clash with a fan on the crowded slopes of Alpe d’Huez on stage 12 of the Tour.

Nibali, who is now at the centre of a court case following the crash, told Cycling Weekly that riders need to be protected.

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The 34-year-old said: “The Tour de France organiser has done many things but on the special stages, for example Mont Ventoux or Alpe d’Huez, we must do more because the rider is the heart of the race, the heart of cycling, and we need safety.

“Of course cycling is on the roads, so the only thing we can do is talk to the fans and say ‘please respect the riders’.”

The past winner of all three Grand Tours was speaking at the recent WTM travel show in London.

Nibali also didn't rule out a possible future with Team Sky.

Days after that conversation, Nibali spent three hours giving evidence to French police who are investigating the crash.

Nibali was forced to abandon after he become tangled in a fan’s camera strap on the heavily crowded roads to the summit on stage 12.

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He finished the stage, but was then taken to hospital where a fractured vertebra was discovered.

On Saturday, November 10, Nibali travelled across the border from Italy to France with his lawyer to give evidence, according to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

Nibali and his Bahrain-Merida team argue that Tour de France organiser ASO should be held responsible for the crash.

Police are expected to collect evidence from the incident in an attempt to identify the fan involved.

Nibali’s crash was not the only time this season a camera strap affected racing.

At Il Lombardia, Frenchman Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) got tangled in a camera strap on a climb 45km from the finish.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.