Sky rider banned for five weeks after punch thrown at Tour

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has suspended Team Sky rider Gianni Moscon for five weeks and disqualified him from last month's Tour de France for hitting out at another rider.

The Italian was kicked off the Tour on July 22 for appearing to swing an arm at Elie Gesbert from the French Fortuneo-Samsic team during the 15th stage of the race.


"Mr Moscon accepted his responsibility for the incident and will serve a period of suspension of five weeks starting from August 8 to September 12, 2018," the UCI said in a statement.

Moscon expressed regret over the incident and said he accepted the suspension.

"I reacted in the heat of the moment and it was never my intention to hit the rider," the 24-year-old said.

"As the footage shows I didn't make contact, but I regret my actions and I have already apologised to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo-Samsic for the incident."

Sky boss Dave Brailsford said he had taken Moscon’s age, and the febrile atmosphere at last month’s Tour – where Sky’s riders were regularly booed and even spat at – into consideration when making his decision not to sack the rider from the team.

Sky's Gianni Moscon was thrown out of the Tour for hitting another rider.

Sky’s Gianni Moscon was thrown out of the Tour for hitting another rider.

‘‘We accept the UCI’s decision,’’ Brailsford said in a statement. ‘‘This incident obviously happened during one of the most challenging races the team has ever faced. We are confident Gianni truly regrets his actions and has learnt from this episode.

‘‘We have a duty of care to all our riders which we take extremely seriously. Gianni is still a relatively young rider at the start of his career and we will continue to give him the help and support he needs to learn, develop and move forward from this.’’

The one-day race specialist was also accused of forcing another rider to crash last year before being cleared of wrongdoing by the UCI.

He was suspended by Sky for six weeks for a racist slur against a French rider last year.

Sky won their sixth Tour de France title in seven years last month, when Geraint Thomas sealed victory ahead of Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin.

Reuters; Telegraph, London

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