RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini
Italian Gianni Moscon, a Team Sky teammate of defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome, was thrown off the race Sunday after an altercation with a fellow rider, officials said. Race officials took the decision after Moscon was involved in a fracas with a rider from the Fortuneo team shortly after the stage start in Millau. Speaking to AFP, officials said the Italian used heavy-handed tactics when the Fortuneo team rider tried to help his team leader, Warren Barguil, join an early breakaway in the 181.5 kilometer-long 15th stage from Millau to Carcassonne.
Race commissaires classed the incident as a “particularly serious aggression” and threw the 24-year-old Italian off the race shortly after the stage, won by Denmark’s Magnus Cort Nielsen of Astana. Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford said he accepted the decision to exclude Moscon. “Gianni is desperately disappointed in his behavior and knows that he has let himself, the team and the race down,” Brailsford said in a team statement. “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 for this unacceptable incident.”
It is not the first time Moscon, now in his third year with Sky but on his race debut, has fallen foul of officials. Last year he was handed a suspension by Sky after racially abusing Frenchman Kevin Reza at the Tour of Romandie. That misdemeanor earned the Italian a written warning from Team Sky, who said at the time: “Gianni Moscon has been given a formal written warning and suspended from racing for six weeks. “He will also attend a diversity awareness course. Gianni knows that there is no excuse for his behavior and that any repeat
will result in termination of his contract. ” At the end of last season Moscon was also accused by Swiss rider Sebastien Reichenbach of causing him to crash in an Italian race, an incident for which he escaped sanctions.
Moscon finished an impressive fifth at Paris-Roubaix last year and third in the Tour of Lombardy, before helping Froome to claim overall victory in the 2017 Tour of Spain.
— Tout Le Sport (@toutlesport) July 22, 2018