Team Sky have said that they will decide after the Tour de France whether or not to punish Gianni Moscon for punching Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Samsic). Moscon was disqualified from the race after hitting the French rider in the opening 800 metres of Sunday’s stage 15 from Millau to Carcassonne.
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said he supported the decision by the UCI commissaires and apologised to Gesbert and his team for the incident.
“We support and accept the decision by the race organisers to exclude Gianni Moscon from the Tour de France,” Brailsford said in a statement issued by Team Sky. “Gianni is desperately disappointed in his behaviour and knows that he has let himself, the team and the race down.
“We will address this incident with Gianni once the Tour is complete and decide then if any further action should be taken. I would like to offer my sincere apologies to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo Samsic for this unacceptable incident."
Moscon and Gesbert were riding towards the front of the peloton in the first kilometre of the stage when the incident occurred. In video footage, Moscon can be seen taking a swipe backwards towards Gesbert, and the Italian appears to make contact with the Frenchman’s helmet.
Following the finish, Fortuneo-Samsic filed a complaint with the commissaires, and Team Skys' Brailsford and directeur sportif Nicolas Portal visited them to plead Moscon’s. According to Cyclingnews' information gathered from those involved in the disqualification, Team Sky initially denied that Moscon had touched another rider.
It is not Moscon’s first brush with controversy. He was suspended for six weeks by Team Sky in 2017 after he racially abused Kevin Reza during a stage of the Tour de Romandie. Later that season, Sebastian Reichenbach and his FDJ team accused Moscon of deliberately pushing the Swiss rider off his bike during the Tre Valli Varesine.
Reichenbach believed that it was payback for his tweets that helped to highlight the incident between Moscon and Reza. Moscon would eventually be cleared by the UCI, which cited a lack of evidence in its reasoning.
Moscon was also disqualified from last year’s World Championships road race after he was captured on camera holding onto his team’s car following a crash on the penultimate lap.
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