Gianni Moscon suspended for five weeks by UCI for Tour de France punching incident

Italian accepts punishment after lashing out at Elie Gesbert on stage 15 of the 2018 Tour de France

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Gianni Moscon has been handed a five week suspension from the UCI Disciplinary Commission for violent conduct at the 2018 Tour de France.

The Italian was seen hitting out at Frenchman Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Samsic) close to the start of stage 15 of the race. Moscon completed the stage, but was disqualified afterwards by commissaires.

The 24-year-old later released a video apology, and has accepted the punishment from the UCI. He'll begin his five-week suspension from today (August 8) until September 12, which will mean he should be available for selection at the World Championships with the team time trial taking place on September 23 and the road race the following weekend.

“I accept the suspension given to me by the UCI," Moscon said in a statement.

"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 apologised to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo Samsic for the incident."

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Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford, who said at the time that Moscon had "let himself, the Team and the race down," said that the incident took place "during one of the most challenging races the team has ever faced."

Sky, who won the race overall through Geraint Thomas, faced regular boos, spitting and some aggressive behaviour from French fans on the roadside, with one spectator attempting to hit Chris Froome on Alpe d'Huez and another attempting to grab Thomas on the finish to Col du Portet.

Brailsford apologised at the Tour after suggesting that spitting was "a French cultural thing."

“We accept the UCI’s decision to suspend Gianni for a five-week period," Brailsford said on Moscon.

“This incident obviously happened during one of the most challenging races the team has ever faced. We are confident that Gianni truly regrets his actions and has learnt from this episode.

“We have a duty of care to all our riders which we take extremely seriously. 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.”

Moscon has been involved in a number of negative incidents in his relatively short career. He was suspended for six weeks for making alleged racist remarks towards rider Kevin Reza at the 2017 Tour de Romandie and was also made to attend a diversity awareness course.

Later that year he was disqualified from the World Championships road race after footage showed him holding onto a team car to catch back to the peloton.

Moscon was then accused by Swiss rider Sébastian Reichenbach of causing him to deliberately crash at the Tre Valli Varesine one-day race, but was cleared by the UCI of any wrongdoing.

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