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CARCASSONNE, France (VN) — Team Sky’s Gianni Moscon was expelled from the Tour de France on Sunday afternoon following an altercation with another rider during stage 15, officials confirmed.
According to French news agency AFP, Moscon, 24, was involved in an incident shortly after the race departed start city Millau. In a statement on Twitter, Fortuneo-Samsic said that the rider in question was Frenchman Elie Gesbert, 23, who was racing in his second Tour de France.
The statement said Gesbert “received a punch” from Moscon just 800 meters after the start of the stage. A video clip of the incident on the Twitter page of French TV broadcast Tout Le Sport shows Moscon turn to his right and swing his right arm at Gesbert’s head.
According to AFP, officials said the Italian used heavy-handed tactics when Gesbert tried to help his team leader, Warren Barguil, join the day’s early breakaway. Race commissaires classified the incident as a “particularly serious aggression” and threw Moscon out of the race shortly after the stage finished in Carcassonne.
— Tout Le Sport (@toutlesport) July 22, 2018
In a statement, Team Sky Principal David Brailsford said he accepted the decision by the race commissars to remove Moscon from the race. Brailsford apologized to both Gesbert and Team Fortuneo-Samsic, and said that Moscon is “disappointed in his behavior.”
“Gianni is desperately disappointed in his behavior and knows that he has let himself, the team, and the race down,” Brailsford said. “We will address the incident with Gianni once the Tour is complete and decide then if any further action should be taken.”
This is not the first time Moscon has been sanctioned for bad behavior. In 2017 he received a six-week racing ban by Team Sky management after he was overheard saying racist insults to rider Kevin Reza during the Tour of Romandie. In October 2017 Moscon was accused of intentionally causing a crash with Swiss rider Sebastien Reichenbach, which resulted in Reichenbach breaking his elbow.
In September Moscon was also ejected from the UCI road world championships after video emerged of him taking a tow from a team car.
In June the UCI’s disciplinary commission cleared Moscon of any wrongdoing in that event.
Moscon, a key helper to race leader Geraint Thomas and four-time winner Chris Froome, will not start Tuesday’s 16th stage as the Tour turns into the Pyrénées.