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Gianni Moscon ejected for Tour de France for violent conduct

Joe Robinson
23 Jul 2018

Team Sky rider caught striking rival on camera and now faces fight to keep Team Sky contract

Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) has been disqualified from the Tour de France after he was seen striking Elie Gesbert of Fortuneo-Samsic at the beginning of Stage 15 from Millau to Carcassonne.

The race jury reviewed footage of the incident after the stage, which appeared to show the Italian reaching back and throwing his hand towards the face of Gesbert. The jury found this to be sufficient evidence to exclude Moscon from the race.

The decision was made after the stage had been completed, as opposed to during the race, with the jury eventually citing article 12.1040.30.1 of the UCI regulations. This covers violent acts between riders and permits disqualification.

Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford and sports director Nicolas Portal visited the race jury after the stage finish in Carcassonne to review the television footage and plead Moscon's case, however this came to no avail, with the rider being ejected yesterday evening.

Team Sky then released a short statement in regards to Moscon's disqualification which included an apology to Gesbert.

The statement read, '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.'

After the team's statement Moscon himself released a video statement on Team Sky's Twitter.

In the video, Moscon said, '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.

'I want to apologise to everyone for what happened including my teammates, Team Sky and the Tour de France.'

This incident is the latest in a long line for the Italian who is still only 24 years old.

In 2017, Moscon was handed a six-week suspension from Team Sky after racially abusing Kevin Reza, then of FDJ, at the Tour de Romandie.

On his return, Moscon was then ejected from the 2017 World Championships in Bergen, Norway, after being caught holding on to a team car.

Then in June this year, Moscon was the subject of a UCI investigation into accusations that he had purposely caused the crash of Sebastien Reichenbach at the 2017 Tre Valli Varesine, amid claims he had targeted Reichenbach in retaliation for the Swiss rider's comments on the Reza case early in the year.

The UCI eventually closed the investigation due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

While Brailsford has stated the team will 'address this incident with Gianni once the Tour is complete, and decide then if any further action should be taken', the fact that Moscon has been at the centre of so many previous disciplinary concerns raises the question of how many lives the Italian has left. 

Team Sky's response to the Reza incident included a statement that 'any repeat will result in termination of his contract'.

Moscon was making his Tour debut this year in what otherwise has been an excellent race for Sky. Currently his teammate Geraint Thomas sits in yellow with Chris Froome second on General Classification as the race enters its second rest day today.