Team Sky keep Moscon out of competition until further notice

Team Sky will not field Gianni Moscon until the UCI Disciplinary Commission decides whether the Italian will face further punishment relating to his expulsion from the Tour de France.

Moscon, 24, was expelled from the Tour after he punched Fortuneo-Samsic rider Elie Gesbert in the opening kilometres of stage 15 from Millau to Carcassonne. The Italian finished the stage but video footage was later analysed by the race jury and, despite a protest from Team Sky at the time, the rider was ejected from the event, leaving the squad with seven riders.

Moscon is technically free to race while the UCI's Disciplinary Commission go through their procedures and decide as to whether the rider will face further punishment for his actions. However, Cyclingnews has learned from Team Sky that they will not let Moscon return to racing until the UCI make a ruling. The governing body's Commission could clear the Italian if they think that the race jury at the time gave Moscon a sufficient punishment. However, the rider could also face a suspension, in which case Team Sky would have to keep their rider on the sidelines for an extended period.

When contacted by Cyclingnews on Thursday, the UCI would not provide a statement or update on the situation, saying that there was 'no time frame' at present. However, Cyclingnews understands that the matter may not yet have even reached the Disciplinary Commission. Team Sky are hopeful, however, that a resolution will be found within the next week.

In July, the UCI handed Lars Boom a one-month ban after he punched Preben Van Hecke in the Tour of Norway, while Andrey Grivko was banned for 45 days last year after punching Marcel Kittel in the Dubai Tour. In both cases, the riders were immediately expelled from the races, but it took more than a month for the UCI DIsciplinary Commission to reach its verdict. 

After the incident at this year's Tour, Moscon posted a video apology, filmed on the Team Sky bus the evening of his expulsion.

"I'm sorry for today's incident, and totally regret my actions. I would like to personally apologise to Elie Gesbert for the incident on today's stage," he said.

Courting controversy

This is not the first time that Moscon has been up in front of the UCI or courted controversy. In 2017 he admitted to using racist language towards Kevin Reza at the Tour de Romandie. Team Sky kept him in the race but later suspended him for six weeks during a period of the season in which his race programme was already sparse. He was also sent on a diversity course.

Later in the year the Italian was accused of deliberately causing Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ) to crash during the Tre Valli Varesine, but the UCI disciplinary committee dropped the case in June. Team Sky and Moscon strongly denied the allegations.

Reichenbach suffered a fractured elbow and hip in the crash, and the Swiss rider believed Moscon deliberately caused the crash in retribution for his part in highlighting how the Team Sky rider had racially abused Reza.

Following that incident at the 2017 Tour de Romandie, Team Sky said: "Gianni knows that there is no excuse for his behaviour and that any repeat will result in the termination of his contract."

The morning after the incident at this year's Tour de France Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford held a press conference in which he was asked about Moscon and the Italian's future at the team.

"Gianni has left the race, which is pretty disappointing. He's really disappointed. He's let himself down, he's let his team down and he's gone home," Brailsford said. "From a team point of view, I'm going to keep the focus on the rest of the race. When I get back next week I'll gather the facts, look at the process and make a decision as to what we do from there."

When asked specifically as to whether Moscon's contract could be terminated, Brailsford responded: "I'll gather the facts, look at the process, and go from there."

Brailsford was also asked if Moscon had been provoked. "I've got some information about it but I'll look at it all when I get back," he said.

Moscon was making his Tour de France debut this year, having made a Grand Tour debut at last year's Vuelta a España.

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