Team Sky's Gianni Moscon has apologised for what he describes in a video posted on Twitter by his team as the "incident" with Team Fortuneo-Samsic's Elie Gesbert that took place on Sunday's 15th stage of the Tour de France between Millau and Carcassonne.
In race footage from the stage, Moscon is shown swinging his arm at the head of Gesbert, which Fortuneo-Samsic described on Twitter as the French rider having "received a punch" from the Italian.
Upon review of the footage, the race jury chose to disqualify Moscon from this year's Tour.
"I'm sorry for today's incident, and totally regret my actions," Moscon said in the video posted on Sunday evening. "I would like to personally apologise to Elie Gesbert for the incident on today's stage."
Moscon continued to say that he'd set a bad example, and let himself down, and also apologised to his teammates and the staff of Team Sky, as well as to the Tour organisers, saying that he accepted their decision, which was to disqualify him from the race.
The impact of Moscon's exclusion may be considerable for a team that is trying to back two leaders at this year's Tour, and which will now have just five riders to work for Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome until the race ends in Paris on July 29.
Moscon's apology comes after a number of recent incidents in the 24-year-old's career. In 2017 he was suspended for six weeks by Team Sky for having racially abused French rider Kevin Reza at the Tour de Romandie, and was also disqualified from the road race at the 2017 World Championships in Bergen, Norway, for taking an extended tow from the Italian team car after having been caught up in a crash.
In June of this year, Moscon was cleared by a UCI disciplinary commission of having allegedly caused Reza's FDJ teammate Sébastien Reichenbach to crash at the Tre Valli Varesine one-day race last October.
After that case was dismissed, Team Sky put out a press release in which they said they welcomed the decision, and that Moscon had the team's full support.
"We are pleased he can now get on with racing with a line now drawn under this episode," the team said. "He is a very talented young bike rider who will have much to contribute to the team over the coming months and years."
After this latest incident, Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford released a statement in which he apologised to Gesbert on behalf of Moscon, before the Italian later made his own apology on Twitter.
"We will address this incident with Gianni once the Tour is complete, and decide then if any further action should be taken," Brailsford said. "I would like to offer my sincere apologies to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo-Samsic for this unacceptable incident."
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