Thursday 13 December 2018

WATCH: Team Sky rider kicked out of Tour de France for striking rival during race

Italy's Gianni Moscon
Italy's Gianni Moscon

Julien Pretot

Team Sky's rough ride on the Tour de France continued on Sunday when their Italian rider Gianni Moscon was kicked out of the race for hitting another rider during the 15th stage.

"The jury kicked him out because he hit a rider from the (French) Fortuneo-Samsic team," a senior official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

Moscon was suspended by Sky for six weeks for a racist slur against a French rider last year.

Sky riders have been targeted by boos and jeers on the Tour this year and defending champion Chris Froome was slapped on the shoulder by a fan during a stage this week.

Moscon, a one-day race specialist who is on the Tour as a domestique, was also accused of sending another rider crashing last year before being cleared of wrongdoing by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Sky have been largely unpopular in France since Briton Bradley Wiggins won the Tour in 2012.

Their utter domination, with five Tour titles in the last six editions, has been reminiscent of disgraced Lance Armstrong's U.S. Postal team in the early 2000s and the French crowd has been hostile towards the Sky riders.

Froome was cleared of a doping offence days before the race started but several banners linking Sky to doping have been seen on the side of roads and a fan slapped the four-times champion on the shoulder on his way up to l'Alpe d'Huez.

Race leader Geraint Thomas was booed on the podium ceremony after winning that stage this week. Froome said he had urine thrown at him during a stage of the 2015 Tour.

Team Sky were not immediately reachable for comment.

Thomas leads fellow Briton Froome by one minute 39 seconds heading into the second rest day on Monday before a key block of racing in the Pyrenees.

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