UCI President Brian Cookson has confirmed that Sky's Gianni Moscon will not face any further punishment after using racially abusive language against Kevin Reza (FDJ) at the Tour de Romandie in April.
The case had been referred to the UCI’s disciplinary commission during the spring, and exactly 90 days after the incident took place Cookson confirmed that the governing body would take no action over the matter.
The incident took place during the Tour de Romandie and Team Sky confirmed on the morning of stage 4 that Moscon had racially abused Reza in the closing kilometres of the previous stage.
Moscon was allowed to stay in the race with Team Sky unwilling to remove him. The rider apologized to Reza in person and once the Tour de Romandie concluded, Moscon was handed a six-week racing suspension from Team Sky and a written warning, and was sent on a 'diversity awareness course'.
Since the Tour de Romandie, Cyclingnews has contacted the UCI several times and was told that the governing body was still investigating the case. At a press event based around Cookson's bid to retain his UCI presidency, the former head of British Cycling confirmed that the governing body would not add to Moscon’s punishment.
"That was referred to the disciplinary commission and they have made a judgement and have agreed in effect that Moscon's suspension should run concurrently with the one that was already in place. They've made that decision and it's one that I've had to accept," Cookson said.
The case sets a worrying precedent, with a team seemingly able to sanction one of its own riders before a judgement can be issued from the sport's governing body. Also of concern is the fact that the UCI felt that Team Sky had acted with the exact same ruling they would have applied.
"That's the end of the matter for the disciplinary commission, who are separate from the UCI in that sense," Cookson added.
When asked if he agreed with the UCI Commission's judgement Cookson said: "Racism cannot be tolerated. The commission came to the conclusion that given the circumstances and the agreement between the teams and the individual athletes concerned that the sanction that they decided upon was appropriate. I think that this is something that needs to be considered very carefully in the future and I'll be keeping an eye out for future outbreaks of this behaviour. Each case has to be decided on its merits."
Moscon returned to racing in June, telling La Gazzetta dello Sport that his conscience was clear.
"I don't have much to say. My conscience is clear, I accepted the punishment, I took my break," Moscon said. "I didn't kill anyone and the accusations are not completely founded. But I'd prefer to not talk about it anymore.
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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