Italy’s national cycling team coach, Davide Cassani, has said that he was to blame for the illegal tow that saw Gianni Moscon disqualified from yesterday’s men’s elite road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen.
Moscon, aged 23, was captured on camera taking an extended tow from the Italian team car as he tried to rejoin the main group after a crash with 37 kilometres – just under two laps of the closing circuit – remaining.
— CyclingHub (@CyclingHubTV) September 24, 2017
He rejoined the group of riders who would contest the race ahead of the final lap and was one of the main protagonsists, following an attack from France’s Julian Alaphilippe that could well have proved to be a race winning move.
However, the pair were swept up before the final sprint in which defending champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia snatched victory from Norway’s Alexander Kristoff to win the rainbow jersey for an unprecedented third time running.
After the race – and before his disqualification – Moscon said, apparently without irony, that he thought Italy had “raced really well, without wasting energy.”
Referring to the crash, he said: “I had to work hard to rejoin the group, I was aiming to recover in the penultimate lap so I could put everything into the final circuit.”
Following confirmation of Moscon’s disqualification and with the rider coming under heavy criticism on Twitter, Cassani tweeted: “Please. Moscon had nothing to do with it. It was me who made a mistake and I take full responsibility and apologise especially to Gianni.”
Vi prego, Moscon non c'entra nulla. Sono io che ho sbagliato e mi assumo tutte le responsabilità e chiedo scusa soprattutto a Gianni.
— Davide Cassani (@davidecassani) September 24, 2017
It’s not the first time Moscon has hit the headlines for the wrong reason this year.
In May, Team Sky suspended him from racing for six weeks for racially abusing FDJ rider Kevin Reza at the Tour de Romandie and told him that any repeat would lead to him being sacked.
A rising star in the peloton, Moscon is the reigning Italian national time trial champion and finished sixth in the discipline in Bergen last week.
In April, he finished fifth at Paris-Roubaix. More recently, he was one of Chris Froome’s key support riders at the Vuelta, with Moscon himself finishing 27th overall.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.