Belarusian rider fined for reported racial slur at the Tour of Austria

Branislau Samoilau gives a month's salary to MTN-Qhubeka's charity following claims he racially abused Eritrean rider Natnael Berhane.

Branislau Samoilau on stage four of the 2014 Tour de Suisse
(Image credit: Watson)

Belarusian rider Branislau Samoilau has been fined a month’s wages after he reportedly racially abused another professional during this week’s Tour of Austria.

Samoilau, who rides for the UCI Pro Continental CCC Sprandi Pokowice squad, is alleged to have said a derogatory term to MTN-Qhubeka’s Eritrean rider Natnael Berhane during the race’s fourth stage on Wednesday.

The UCI this morning confirmed to Cycling Weekly that Samoilau has been fined an undisclosed sum. A statement read: “The Commissaires’ Jury spoke to both riders and their teams. Everyone agreed that it was unacceptable, and the rider apologized and offered to donate one month’s salary to team MTN-Qhubeka’s foundation. All parties were satisfied with the outcome.”

Samoilau turned professional in 2007 and has ridden for both Quick-Step and Movistar. He joined CCC in 2014.

The 30-year-old currently sits 18th overall in the eight-day race, which is being led by his Czech team-mate Jan Hirt. Berhane is just 15 seconds behind Hirt in fourth place.

CW has contacted the team to obtain whether or not Samoilau will start today’s stage, the first since this story broke.

UPDATE: CCC have confirmed that Samoilau has started today's stage.

A team statement read: "Branislau Samoilau has started the today's stage. The rider will be punished for his actions. Sporting directors and team's management will meet after the race to determine the punishment."

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Nick Bull

Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.