FDJ rider Sebastien Riechenbach has lodged formal complaints with Italian police and with world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, against Team Sky rider Gianni Moscon, whom he claims pushed him off his bike on purpose during yesterday’s Tre Valle Varesine race in Italy.
The Swiss rider, who had been scheduled to ride Il Lombardia on Sunday, sustained a broken elbow, with the injury bringing his season to a premature end.
Riechenbach, aged 28, believes Moscon was exacting revenge for a tweet he sent regarding an incident in this year’s Tour de Romandie that resulted in the Italian being handed a six-week suspension by his team for racial abuse.
Moscon, whom FDJ had accused of “dangerous behaviour” in a tweet following yesterday’s race, has denied he was responsible for the crash and insists that Reichenbach lost control of his bike when his hands slipped from the handlebars of his bike on a descent.
“I am lodging a complaint against Gianni Moscon because he pushed me to the ground on purpose,” Reichenbach told the Swiss newspaper, Le Nouvelliste.
“It was deliberate. Moreover, many riders saw the incident and are prepared to bear witness on my behalf.
“He deliberately threw himself against me. In a descent, the incident could have had even more serious consequences.”
He continued: “My team, FDJ, has encouraged me to make a complaint. It is supporting me.”
Reichenbach was in no doubt as to why he believes Moscon knocked him off his bike on purpose.
“It’s about a settling of scores following the business of the tweet during the Tour of Romandie,” he claimed.
“That’s what got him an internal suspension. But I didn’t even mention him by name,” added Reichenbach.
During that race in June this year, which he wasn’t riding, Reichenbach posted a comment on Twitter after video emerged of an altercation between his team mate Kevin Reza and Moscon, who later apologised for having racially abused the FDJ rider.
Choqué d'entendre encore des imbéciles utiliser des insultes racistes dans le peloton pro. Vous êtes une honte pour notre sport. #TDR2017
— Seb Reichenbach (@reichenbach_seb) April 28, 2017
In his tweet, Reichenbach said he was “shocked to hear again of imbeciles using racist insults in the peloton. You are a disgrace to our sport.”
The incident resulted in Moscon being suspended from competition by Team Sky for six weeks and he was warned that a similar incident in the future could result in his contract being terminated.
Besides his elbow injury, which is due to be operated on tomorrow, Reichenbach was scheduled to undergo a scan today to check whether he has sustained micro-fractures to his hip.
Whatever the result of that, he said he would “remain immobile for several weeks which will put back my preparations for next season.”
The new controversy surrounding Moscon came less than a week and a half after he was disqualified from the men’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen after video emerged of him holding on to his team car to get back to the main group after a crash.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.