An online spat over Sunday’s cancellation of Tirreno-Adriatico’s queen stage threatened to extend from Twitter to the courtroom on Tuesday. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Vincenzo Nibali has consulted lawyers over a tweet from Dimension Data’s Matt Brammeier that called the Italian a “narrow minded, selfish moron” after Nibali expressed consternation at the lack of a “plan B” for Sunday’s stage, which featured a mountaintop finish and would have allowed him a chance to ride for Tirreno’s overall title.
Better you stay home & skip the whole season you narrow minded, selfish moron. https://t.co/uwZSY8hxBK
— Matt Brammeier (@Mattbrammeier85) March 13, 2016
Brammeier has been involved in the expansion of the CPA riders’ union, helping lead a new British/Irish delegation. The CPA helped implement the UCI’s extreme weather protocol, which is designed to protect riders in the case of dangerous riding conditions. Nibali’s comments indicate that, despite a wide consensus within the pro peloton that the protocol is a positive step, the subjectivity inherent in determinations of what is safe can produce controversy. German time trialist Tony Martin later commended Brammeier for his stance.
Nibali is considering legal action against both riders, according to Gazzetta. Punishing public figures for opinions expressed on Twitter would likely prove difficult. Cannondale Pro Cycling owner Jonathan Vaughters came to their defense early Tuesday.
— James Hartwright (@JamesHartw) March 15, 2016