Team Sky's Gianni Moscon accused of causing FDJ rider to 'intentionally' crash as payback for racism row

John MacLeary
Gianni Moscon was handed a six-week ban by Team Sky earlier this year and was disqualified from the road race at the world championships after taking a very 'sticky bottle' from the Italian team car - Corbis Sport

Team Sky face further embarrassment after it emerged on Wednesday that Sébastien Reichenbach had claimed Gianni Moscon intentionally caused the Swiss to crash during Tuesday's Tre Valli Varesine race in Italy.

Moscon, 23, made headlines earlier this year after the Team Sky rider admitted to racially abusing Kévin Reza – an FDJ team-mate of Reichenbach's – for which he was handed a six-week ban from competition by his team, though has yet to receive any censure from the International Cycling Union, the sport's world governing body.

Following a strong performance at the Vuelta a España when the Team Sky rider proved he had the grand tour credentials to go alongside his obvious talents in the tough one-day races, the Italian was disqualified from last month's road race at the world championships after he was filmed taking a tow off team manager Davide Cassani who was seen handing him a 'sticky bottle'.

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— CyclingHub (@CyclingHubTV) September 24, 2017

Despite issuing a stiff denial, Moscon has now been accused of "deliberately" causing Reichenbach to crash out of the one-day Tre Valli Varesine race with the Swiss saying he will file a complaint to the Italian police and UCI. 

"I’m filing a complaint against Gianni Moscon because he intentionally put me on the ground," Reichenbach told Swiss newspaper Le Nouvelliste.

"It was intentional. Several riders saw the action and are ready to provide testimony on my behalf. He deliberately threw himself against me. On a descent, the accident could have had even more serious consequences. My team, FDJ, has encouraged me to file a complaint. They will support me."

FDJ claimed on Tuesday night that Reichenbach's crash, which left him requiring surgery after fracturing an elbow, "was caused by the dangerous behaviour of Gianni Moscon".

Reichenbach added he believed Moscon was "settling scores" after the Swiss had tweeted about "imbeciles" using racist language following the incident with Reza in April.

"It’s a question of settling scores after the business with the tweet during the Tour de Romandie. That’s what sealed his internal suspension. But I hadn’t even mentioned his name," Reichenbach said.

Moscon denied any wrongdoing, saying: "It’s not true. It’s nothing to do with me. We were on a section of rough road and Reichenbach’s hands slipped from his handlebars. I’ve never spoken to him in my life," Moscon told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Moscon tweeted on Tuesday night that he was "very sorry" to hear that Reichenbach was hurt and wished him "the best recovery".

Team Sky who are understood to be taking the allegations seriously, issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying: "First and foremost, we wish Sébastien a quick recovery from his injuries.

"With regards to the circumstances around the crash, it is right and fair that the full facts are established and that those involved first have the opportunity to provide their own view through the proper channels."

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