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PARIS (AFP) — Italy’s Gianni Moscon, who was thrown off this year’s Tour de France after an altercation with another rider, was banned for five weeks by the UCI on Wednesday.
The Team Sky cyclist, a teammate of Tour champion Geraint Thomas and four-time winner Chris Froome, was involved in a fracas with Fortuneo’s Elie Gesbert during stage 15 of last month’s race.
Tour officials said the Italian used heavy-handed tactics when Gesbert tried to help his team leader, Warren Barguil, join an early breakaway in the 181.5-kilometer stage from Millau to Carcassonne.
“Mr. Moscon accepted his responsibility for the incident and will serve a period of suspension of 5 weeks starting from 8 August to 12 September 2018,” the UCI said in a statement.
Race commissaires classed the incident as a “particularly serious aggression” and threw the 24-year-old Italian out of the race shortly after the stage.
“I accept the suspension given to me by the UCI. I reacted in the heat of the moment and it was never my intention to hit the rider. As the footage shows I didn’t make contact, but I regret my actions and I have already apologized to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo Samsic for the incident,” Moscon said in a statement Wednesday.
“This incident obviously happened during one of the most challenging races the team has ever faced,” said Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford. “We are confident that Gianni truly regrets his actions and has learned from this episode.
“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.”
This is not the first time Moscon, now in his third year with Sky, has fallen foul of officials.
Sky suspended him last year after he used racial slurs against Frenchman Kevin Reza at the Tour of Romandie. And at the end of last season, Moscon was also accused by Swiss rider Sebastien Reichenbach of causing him to crash in an Italian race, an incident for which he escaped sanctions.
Moscon finished an impressive fifth at Paris-Roubaix last year and third in Il Lombardia before helping Froome claim overall victory in the 2017 Vuelta a Espana.