Alleged incident occurred when Michael Albasini and Kevin Reza were in the escape group during stage 16 of the 2014 Tour de France

Switzerland’s Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) is alleged to have called Frenchman Kévin Reza (Europcar) a “dirty negro” during Tuesday’s Tour de France stage to Bagnères-de-Luchon, according to Europcar General Manager Jean-René Bernaudeau.

The two cyclists were met about the issue ahead of Wednesday’s stage to Pla d’Adet, but Albasini denied that he had made the comment. Tour organiser ASO also met with Reza to discuss the matter.

“I do not tolerate racism,” Bernaudeau told France’s Sud Ouest website. “After doping, it is the other scourge of the sport. I saw Kévin very upset after the stage.”

Reza and Albasini were both in the 21-man escape from Carccassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon on Tuesday. Reza placed 14th, Albasini 51st and fellow escapee Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the stage.

Bernaudeau said that the reported comments were “unacceptable, inadmissible.” The website reported that Bernaudeau called Albasini of Australian team Orica-GreenEdge later after the stage.

“I told him what I thought of his attitude,” Bernaudeau continued. “He told me that this is not true. But I trust Kévin and he was bothered.

“I told Kevin to go Albasini at the start in Saint Gaudens. I will not go on further, but I do not want to let such a thing drop.”

Orica-GreenEdge communications director Bryan Nygaard tweeted on Wednesday morning that the two riders had met and that “misunderstandings cleared up, shook hands. No dramas.”

Overnight, Orica-GreenEdge rider Simon Gerrans pulled out of the race to go home. Its cyclists Mat Hayman and Simon Yates already abandoned.

  • COL S. Trautman

    African countries don’t have any white immigrants, they’re racist. I’m not white(by color I am, but simply having white skin doesn’t mean you’re white) and I get frustrated by how some black people get all upset about some words.

  • yenrod

    This is BAD news for the team which is pretty good esp. with the Backstage passes. Albasini is Swiss and that country isnt known for immigrant integration. I’d like to know exactly what was said and what was discussed when they met. Rascism is the scouge of humanity.

  • Saint James crappy head, you are the biggest clown here btw, the few whites playing in the NBA are treated with respect and dignity.Same should apply to every other kind of sport as well.Racism is a crime against humanity and should be dealt with accordingly… Imbecile!!

  • jemblue

    I’m certainly not condoning what he is accused of saying, but to ban him over something said in the heat of the moment is over the top. He is going to be associated with this incident for a long time and is taking a lot of flak in the media for it, which is punishment in itself. And at least it seems that he and Reza have cleared things up.

  • Azonic

    …says the guy also making a comment.

  • Azonic

    Diversity. Code word for anti-white. Funny how your type never speak up to diversify the NBA. Aren’t African countries over represented by blacks? Lets diversify it a little? Why is it always white sports and countries that need to diversify… but never black sports or countries?

  • Saint James Matamoros

    You need to go.

  • Saint James Matamoros

    That’s because thin skinned clowns like you NEED to play the victim because on an equal playing field you lack the courage or character to make it. You see racism hiding under every rock. Pathetic. Is it racist because there are not many whites, Latin Americans or Asians in the NBA?

  • psi4power

    dirty sissy maybe, dirty negro nah

  • kevin rudeforth

    why, hasn’t Albasnini seen black people before i’m sure Reza isn’t his first, why does Reza have to prove anything in order to get respect?

  • Maximus

    Why do you all even post comments? Who cares what you think. Why do you all think you have a better way of doing things? The human ego amazes me …..

  • I find what happened especially disturbing, and it doesn’t need to be ignored or downplayed. There are lots of talented cyclists of all races out there and more diversity would help this sport grow. Incidents like this taint the sport, and need to dealt with swiftly and strongly.

  • Adam Bruss

    That would be a knee jerk reaction. It would be better if they continue to ride together to achieve more mutual respect.

  • Ryad Tally

    It was only a matter of time before some ignoramus pointed out that the sun affects the melamine pigmentation in the skin when exposed. Now this well known fact is made public, can we get back to racing, only the best will prevail!

  • Johnrambo1

    Racism charges used to try and get rid of an opponent. A new low.

  • Why is the Tour tolerating this behavior? Albasnini needs to go.

  • Joseph Richardson

    What a shame, particularly in a sport that could certainly use more riders of color. But is anyone really surprised this happened? I would conjecture that the incident is likely much worse than the story implies.