Her legs were small compared to the rest of her body. “I was used to suddenly becoming invisible to someone I was interested in.Marietta seemed to know that it was a pivotal moment. Most men can’t see past the chair.” Stephen froze, and for a moment it looked as if he might be like “most men” and turn away.“A thousand things went through my mind,” he recalls.
But Brammeier, who was riding at Paris-Nice for Dimension Data, took to Twitter to say that Nibali should “stay at home and skip the who season”, calling the Italian champion a “narrow-minded, selfish moron”.
Etixx-Quick Step‘s Martin agreed with Brammeier’s tweet, replying: “Matt, you’re a legend! ” Nibali says he agreed with the decision to cancel the stage for rider safety, but says he regrets there was no plan B for the general classification contenders to fight it out.
“I simply turned to my lawyer,” Nibali said about the Brammeier and Martin tweets.
“I couldn’t tell you who else was in the room that night,” Stephen said like a bashful teenager, years later.
“She smiled at me, and the chill I’d carried in with me instantly vanished.” They exchanged flirtatious glances all through dinner, seated too far apart for actual conversation.
Finally, dessert was done, and Stephen began gathering the nerve to approach her.
That’s when he saw a detail that stopped him in his tracks: Marietta was in a wheelchair.
Nibali is not the only Italian to consider legal action over a tweet, with Fabio Aru bringing a case against Lotto-Soudal’s Greg Henderson for comments he made online about the biological passport.
Stephen remembers vividly the first time he saw Marietta.