Team Sky suspend Gianni Moscon for six weeks over racial abuse

Mark Dobson
In a statement Team Sky said any repeat of Gianni Moscon’s behaviour ‘will result in termination of his contract’. Photograph: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The beleaguered Team Sky have suffered another body blow in their attempts to rebuild their brand after they suspended Gianni Moscon for six weeks for racially abusing FDJ’s Kévin Reza.

The incident occurred after Friday’s stage three of the Tour de Romandie, which was won by Sky’s Elia Viviani, and has led to the Italian being handed a formal written warning.

Despite the allegations Sky chose not to withdraw the 23-year-old from the race, which concluded on Sunday, after discussions with FDJ.

A statement from Team Sky read: “Following a disciplinary meeting with Team Sky concerning an incident at the Tour of Romandie, Gianni Moscon has been given a formal written warning and suspended from racing for six weeks. He will also attend a diversity awareness course.

“Gianni recognises that his behaviour was wrong and how seriously Team Sky take this kind of incident. He apologised to Kévin Reza after the stage and again to him and his team the following morning, and this apology was accepted. Gianni knows that there is no excuse for his behaviour and that any repeat will result in termination of his contract.”

The incident comes at a time when UK Anti-Doping has been investigating allegations of wrongdoing affecting Team Sky and British Cycling. Sky have been under scrutiny since October when it was revealed that Ukad was looking into a claim that the former rider Sir Bradley Wiggins was injected with triamcinolone, a powerful corticosteroid, at the end of the Critérium in 2011.

The Fancy Bears computer hackers revealed that Wiggins was given permission for jabs of the otherwise-banned drug before his three biggest races in 2011, 2012 and 2013, including his breakthrough Tour de France win in 2012. The retired rider, who has denied any wrongdoing, did not have permission to use it at the Critérium, though.

Central to the investigation has been the contents of a package, hand‑delivered by a British Cycling coach and sent from the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, to the team at the end of that race.

Dr Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky medic, has said he cannot find any records to prove the package contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil because he failed to follow team policy by sharing those records with colleagues. He lost his laptop on holiday three years later.

Ukad is yet to publish the findings of its investigation while the results of a concurrent probe by the culture, media and sport select committee will now not appear until after the general election.

In March Team Sky published an open letter from the team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, to Damian Collins MP, chair of the select committee, in which the team outlined 14 steps taken to improve their anti-doping and medical policies since 2011, including a focus on record-sharing.

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