Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen celebrates on the podium after the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 181.5 kilometers (112.8 miles) with start in Millau and finish in Carcassonne, France, France, Sunday July 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen celebrates on the podium after the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 181.5 kilometers (112.8 miles) with start in Millau and finish in Carcassonne, France, France, Sunday July 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Froome teammate Moscon kicked off Tour for punching

TEAM Sky have been dealt a blow ahead of a final week showdown in the Pyrenees, with rider Gianni Moscon booted out of the Tour de France.

Moscon was disqualified shortly after crossing the line at the end of Stage 15 after video emerged of the Italian swinging his right arm at the head of a rider from France's Fortuneo-Samsic team.

Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford and sports director Nicolas Portal visited the technical zone at the finish line after the stage to review footage with the commissaires.

The commissaires excluded Moscon, citing article 12.1040.30.1 of the UCI regulations, which covers "acts of violence among riders" and allows for disqualification in the event of "particular serious aggression."

"The rider pleaded his case through his directeurs sportifs who were heard by the jury of commissaires," read the statement from the race jury."

The rider Moscon lashed out at was Elie Gesbert.

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford said he accepted the decision to exclude Moscon. "Gianni is desperately disappointed in his behaviour and knows that he has let himself, the team and the race down," he said in a team statment.

"We will address this incident with Gianni once the Tour is complete and decide then if any further action should be taken.

"I would like to offer my sincere apologies to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo for this unacceptable incident."

It's not the first time Moscon has found himself in hot water with the sport's authorities.

He was last year accused of deliberately causing Sebastien Reichenbach to crash, but escaped sanction due to a lack of evidence.

Reichenbach suffered a fractured elbow and hip, with the Swiss rider believing Moscon caused the crash as payback for Reichenbach's part in highlighting how the Team Sky rider had racially abused Kevin Reza at the 2017 Tour de Romandie.

Moscon was suspended for six weeks by his Team Sky after he admitted to racially abusing Reza, but the UCI failed to take action.

Meanwhile, Magnus Cort Nielsen escaped from the breakaway bunch and broken into the fortified city of Carcassonne where he's claimed Stage 15 of the Tour de France.

On a day where riders were confronted with a hilly and windy 181.5km course from Millau, Cort Nielsen made his move with 8km remaining.

The Danish sprinter dragged Ion Izagirre and Bauke Mollema with him on the slightly downhill run-in, but was too strong when it counted to give his Astana team its second consecutive stage win.

"It's amazing. It's what I've been dreaming of even before I started riding a bike," Cort Nielsen said.

"It's my first year here at the Tour and I'm so happy to take a victory. I have to thank my team a lot for giving me this chance and really believing in me.

"It really was perfect and my sports directors had a really big belief in me. They were the ones who came with this tactic many days ago, they already said that this is the stage for me. Everything worked out perfectly."

With race leader Geraint Thomas and Team Sky happy to let the right breaks go up the road, Cort Nielsen was part of a 29-rider group that finally went clear after more than 40km of constant attacking.

Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen clenches his fist as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France
Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen clenches his fist as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France

He was then able to hang on as Rafal Majka, Lilian Calmejane and others attacked on the final climb - the 19km Pic de Nore - before a long descent to the finish where he was helped by teammate Michael Valgren.

There was drama in the chase group behind, who despite conceding defeat in their pursuit of Cort Nielson and company, were involved in a crash before the finish.

Australian Damien Howson did his best to hide his frustration having taken skin off his right elbow and hip.

"It is the Tour de France; they're fighting for every position and coming around that corner ... I just got taken out into the fence there. It was unusual," Howson said.

"It just all happened really fast. We weren't racing for the win, but everyone puts everything in, so unfortunately I had a crash. I'm pretty sore, but we'll get assessed."

A sedate day in the peloton briefly sprung to life when Dan Martin also attacked on the Pic de Nore to open up a gap of more than a minute.

But the adventurous Irishman was steadily reeled in by the Sky train, who then led a cruising main field into town more than 13 minutes after Cort Nielson.

"We're at a race and I wanted to race for a reason, so I just thought why not try," Martin said.

"I thought the downhill would be a lot more downhill than it actually was. There was a headwind and it's difficult for one guy against a team and a TV motorbike, even if stays 20m in front. That makes a fair difference."

Thomas enjoyed a stress-free day in the yellow jersey and goes into Monday's rest day focussed on a big final-week test.

"It was obviously a hard start. The first hour was a lot of attacks and quite a hard road and wind as well, but we controlled it nicely," Thomas said.

"There was a bit of stress on the descent when Romain Bardet tried to do a little something, and then obviously the winds in the last 15k, but we were always in control, so a good day.

"We'll just keep doing what we're doing, you know, day by day and try to do everything right. We'll see what happens."

The Tour resumes on Tuesday where the peloton will be hit with the first of three big days in the Pyrenees - a 218km stage with five classified climbs.



STAGE 1. Magnus Cort (DEN/AST) 4hr25min52sec

2. Ion Izagirre (ESP/TBM) same time

3. Bauke Mollema (NED/TFS) 2

4. Michael Valgren (DEN/AST) 29

5. Toms Skujins (LAT/TFS) 34

6. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/TBM) s.t.

7. Lilian Calmejane (FRA/TDE) s.t.

8. Rafal Majka (POL/BOH) 37

9. Nikias Arndt (GER/SUN) 2:31

10. Julien Bernard (FRA/TFS) s.t.

11. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) s.t.

12. Niki Terpstra (NED/QST) s.t.

13. Daniele Bennati (ITA/MOV) s.t.

14. Fabien Grellier (FRA/TDE) s.t.

15. Pawel Poljanski (POL/BOH) s.t.



1. Geraint Thomas (WAL/SKY) 62hr49min47sec

2. Chris Froome (ENG/SKY) 1:39

3. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) 1:50

4. Primoz Roglic (SLO/TLJ) 2:38

5. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 3:21

6. Mikel Landa (ESP/MOV) 3:42

7. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/TLJ) 3:57

8. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 4:23

9. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 6:14

10. Daniel Martin (IRL/UAD) 6:54

11. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 9:36

12. Bob Jungels (LUX/QST) 9:53

13. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/TKA) 10:01

14. Pierre Latour (FRA/ALM) 17:28

15. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 18:22




1. Peter Sagan (SVK/BOH) 452.

2. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/UAD) 170.

3. Arnaud Demare (FRA/GFC) 133.

4. John Degenkolb (GER/TFS) 128.

5. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 115.

6. Andrea Pasqualon (ITA/WGG) 100.

7. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/QST) 89.

8. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/QST) 84.

9. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/TBM) 76.

10. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/LTS) 71.




1. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/QST) 92.

2. Warren Barguil (FRA/FST) 70.

3. Serge Pauwels (BEL/DDD) 66.

4. Geraint Thomas (WAL/SKY) 30.

5. Rafal Majka (POL/BOH) 28.

6. David Gaudu (FRA/GFC) 25.

7. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EFD) 23.

8. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) 23.

9. Rudy Molard (FRA/GFC) 22.

10. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/TLJ) 20.



1. Movistar Team 188hr47min32sec

2. Bahrain - Merida 7:10

3. Team Sky 42:22

4. Astana Pro Team 47:43

5. Team LottoNL - Jumbo 52:00

6. Team Sunweb 1:17:38

7. BMC Racing Team 1:18:04

8. Mitchelton - Scott 1:22:31

9. AG2R La Mondiale 1:29:19

10. Quick-Step Floors 1:35:25

11. Direct Energie 1:47:27

12. Cofidis, Solutions Credits 2:07:36

13. Trek - Segafredo 2:07:51

14. Team EF Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale 2:20:01

15. Groupama - FDJ 2:23:33

16. Team Fortuneo - Samsic 2:29:48

17. BORA - hansgrohe 2:37:58

18. UAE Team Emirates 2:39:58

19. Team Katusha - Alpecin 2:41:25

20. Wanty - Groupe Gobert 2:43:08

21. Team Dimension Data 3:07:43

22. Lotto - Soudal 4:22:47