CARCASSONNE, France (VN) — Tour de France leader Geraint Thomas and his teammate Chris Froome, who sits in second, head into the final week of the race “disappointed” about their teammate Gianni Moscon’s aggression that led to his disqualification.
The race jury booted the controversial Italian after he tried to punch French rider Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Samsic) in the opening kilometer of stage 15.
“It’s disappointing,” Thomas said Monday in Carcassone, where Team Sky met the press on the second of two rest days. [related title=”More Tour de France news” align=”right” tag=”Tour-de-France”]
Moscon is traveling home to Trento. His future on the British super team is unclear.
Thomas and Froome spoke with the press at the Campanile hotel. They sat on a crowded terrace, facing around 100 journalists overflowing on the sidewalks and a nearby poolside lounge.
The British duo, with the team one man down, will continue to lead Sky when the Tour enters the Pyrénées on Tuesday and try to win the race.
“There’s nothing we can do,” added Welshman Thomas. “What’s done is done, we have to just try to focus on this last week. We are now a rider down now.”
“We all found out after the race when we were back at the hotel,” four-time Tour winner Froome added. “As G said, the whole team is disappointed, disappointed in Gianni’s actions. Disappointed to be a man down for the last week.”
Roadside spectators have not been kind to Sky since the team started dominating grand tours in 2012. One hit Richie Porte when he rode on the squad, another threw urine on the riders, and boos have been constant.
This year, the boos and aggression continue. Police arrested at least one man who hit Froome on the famous Alpe d’Huez last week.
The Moscon incident is “certainly not going to help, but at the same time, we’ve been managing it really well over the last weeks,” Froome said. “Even if it hasn’t been easy. We’ll get on with it and hopefully get the job down all the way to Paris.”
Moscon was only cleared by the UCI disciplinarily commission in June to race the Tour de France. He had been accused of causing a rider to crash in the October 2017 race Tre Valli Varesine.
Team Sky had already sidelined him after he reportedly used racial slurs in the 2017 Tour de Romandie toward Frenchman Kévin Reza, who was then with team FDJ. The team sent Moscon to a diversity awareness course.
“We’re just bike riders, we don’t choose who comes and goes in the team,” Thomas said of Moscon’s future. “We’re disappointed to lose him [in the Tour] and in his actions, obviously.”
Team boss David Brailsford spoke to the press before his two stars took the seats on the terrace. He addressed Moscon, but also the aggression toward Team Sky in the Tour de France.
“We are disappointed in Gianni,” Brailsford said. “Will make a decision about what to do with him after the race, look at processes and go from there.”