Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ) hopes to return to racing in March as he continues his recovery from the injuries he sustained after clashing with Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) during the Tre Valli Varesine in October.
Reichenbach suffered a fractured pelvis and elbow in the fall, and he subsequently filed formal complaints against Moscon with Italian police and the UCI, claiming that the Italian had caused the crash deliberately.
Moscon has denied the allegation, claiming that Reichenbach’s hands had slipped from his handlebars on a stretch of rough road. Reichenbach maintained that Moscon had intentionally caused the crash as retribution for his part in highlighting how the Team Sky rider had racially abused FDJ's Kevin Reza during the Tour de Romandie in April.
“As far as the legal part is concerned, I cannot say much more," Reichenbach told radsport-news.com, though he was optimistic about the progress of his recovery.
“Things are gradually improving. Fixing the fracture on my elbow was a very important step, and I was lucky to have been operated on by an excellent doctor, so no subsequent problems can be expected. Also with my pelvis, it is going quite well. Six weeks after the fall, I was able to put the crutches aside. If all goes well, I'll be back in March.”
The 28-year-old Reichenbach joined FDJ from IAM Cycling ahead of the 2016 season and played a key role in helping Thibaut Pinot to finish fourth place overall at this year’s Giro d’Italia, while helping himself to a solid 15th place overall in Milan.
A fine climber, the Swiss rider also placed 14th at last year’s Tour de France and fourth at Tirreno-Adriatico in 2016, and finished 7th at the Vuelta a Andalucia in February.
Reichenbach’s 2017 season came to a premature halt following the crash at Tre Valli Varesine in early October, which he said was caused by Moscon. Later that month, Reichenbach made an appeal for video footage of the incident in an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick, acknowledging that testimony from fellow riders who witnessed the crash might not be sufficient for Moscon to face punishment.
FDJ manager Marc Madiot has said that he will seek damages if Moscon is found guilty of causing the crash.
Moscon has been the centre of much controversy in 2017. As well as serving a belated six-week internal suspension from Team Sky following his racial abuse of Reza, Moscon was disqualified from the final results of the World Championships road race after he was found to have taken a tow from the Italian team car.
“The accusations are very serious and they've got to explain and justify them,” Moscon said of the Reichenbach crash after placing third at Il Lombardia. “My name has been damaged by what they wrote. I've got no intention to let anything go this time.”