Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) will not face sanction from the UCI disciplinary commission for allegedly causing Sebastien Reichenbach to crash during the 2017 Tre Valli Varesine due to a lack of evidence. The news was broken by La Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday morning and confirmed by Team Sky, though the UCI has not made a public statement on the matter.
Reichenbach suffered a fractured elbow and hip in a crash during Tre Valli Varesine and claimed afterwards that Moscon had “intentionally put [him] on the ground.” The Groupama-FDJ rider believed Moscon had deliberately caused the crash in retribution for his part in highlighting how the Team Sky rider had racially abused Kevin Reza at last year’s Tour de Romandie.
Moscon attended an 11-hour disciplinary hearing in Geneva on the day after Paris-Roubaix in mid-April, but the proceedings were adjourned without a verdict being delivered. Under UCI rules, Moscon risked a ban of up to six months for ‘behaving in a violent manner.’
Cyclingnews understands that the conflicting testimonies provided by witnesses meant that the UCI disciplinary commission was unable to piece together a definitive account of the incident, and so the case was dropped. Reichenbach’s crash at Tre Valli Varesine was not captured on film.
“It has been a lengthy process during which an independent panel heard evidence from all parties and found that there was not a case to answer,” read a Team Sky statement on Wednesday.
“These were serious allegations which Gianni and the Team have always strongly contested. We back Gianni and he has our full support. We are pleased he can now get on with racing with a line now drawn under this episode. He is a very talented young bike rider who will have much to contribute to the Team over the coming months and years.”
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Moscon’s case was helped by the testimony of Sangemini rider Nicola Gaffurini, who told the newspaper that the Sky rider had not caused the crash.
“I saw the FDJ rider when he was already touching the ground against the pavement on the right-hand side of the road. He was the only one to fall in that spot,” Gaffurini told La Gazzetta. “And afterwards, nobody went to complain to Moscon, whereas if a rider causes another rider to fall on purpose, there’s sort of a rise against him, or at least people go and ask him to explain himself. I didn’t have the impression that anything strange had happened.”
Reichenbach filed a complaint with Italian police as well as with the UCI last October, and told Swiss publication La Nouvelliste that he had witnesses willing to provide testimony against Moscon. Cyclingnews understands that Reichenbach's witnesses provided testimony to the UCI disciplinary committee.
"It was intentional,” Reichenbach said. “Several riders saw the action and are ready to provide testimony on my behalf. He deliberately threw himself against me. On a descent, the accident could have had even more serious consequences. My team, FDJ, has encouraged me to file a complaint. They will support me.”
Moscon has continued to race throughout the case and is in line to compete for Team Sky at next month’s Tour de France after riding in the service of Geraint Thomas at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné.
The 24-year-old was last year side-lined from racing for six weeks by his Sky team after he admitted to racially abusing Kevin Reza, though the squad allowed him to complete the Tour de Romandie. The UCI, however, declined to take any action against the Italian rider for the racist incident.
In September of last year, Moscon was disqualified from the World Championships road race when video emerged of him taking a tow from the Italian team car after he was caught up in a crash on the penultimate lap.