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MOUNT ETNA, Italy (VN) — Spain’s Javier Moreno (Bahrain-Merida) was kicked out of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday after shoving another rider during Tuesday’s fourth stage.
The Spanish rider was spotted by helicopter TV images shoving Diego Rosa (Sky) with about 20km to go in Tuesday’s mountaintop near the base of the Mount Etna summit finale.
A TV image revealed Moreno pulling alongside Rosa and apparently exchanging words. Moreno then appears to shove the Italian rider as he rides away. Rosa claimed he crashed as a result of the exchange.
“You can all see what happened,” Rosa told journalists at the line. “It was a stressful moment of the race. If a guy pushes the other guy out of the road … if he drops, and crashes, and breaks [his bike]. I fell, and changed my bike. It was a moment of stress, and we ran into each other, and then he touched me. I touched him, and then he threw me off.”
Several riders commented how stressful the approach was to the 15km climb up the Etna summit as riders and teams jostled for position in the 2017 Giro’s first summit finale.
Moreno crossed the line 72nd, but was later disqualified by the race jury for “acts of violence,” and fined 200CHF, citing article 12.1.040.30 in the UCI rulebook.
Later that day, Bahrain-Merida published this statement:
During the 4th stage of Giro d’Italia, in the heat of the battle for position, our rider Javier Moreno pushed Team Sky rider Diego Rosa which caused him to crash. For this act, our rider received an expulsion from the race.
We at Team Bahrain Merida, support and respect the decision from UCI, and on behalf of Javier Moreno we apologize to Diego Rosa and Team Sky.
“My teammates and me were all in the line coming to the final climb, team Sky came up on the left and Rosa wanted to get onto my teammates wheel in front of me. When he realized I was resisting, he aggravated me to which I reacted by pushing him, unfortunately causing him to crash. I want to apologize for my reaction and make it clear that it was not my intention for him to crash. I apologize to him and Team Sky, as well as to my teammates and sponsors,” said Javier Moreno.
Our GM Brent Copeland, who was present at the race said: “This was unfortunate situation which happened during a tense moment of the race, however Javier’s act is not acceptable. On behalf of team Bahrain Merida we apologize to those involved.”