First there was the news that Chris Froome’s legal team had decided on the wacky “malfunctioning kidney” defense. Now, things may become even stranger than that fiction.
The faulty kidney gambit is a unique scientific explanation for taking double the legally allowed limit of the asthma medication salbutamol. Now it seems that Froome’s legal team may open up a second unexpected legal front in order to get Team Sky’s star rider off the hook and free of any suspension or ban.
According to an undisclosed source with knowledge of the situation, Sky has offered the UCI a deal: a guilty plea and six month ban for Gianni Moscon in return for clearing Froome’s name.
Moscon is currently awaiting possible disciplinary action from the UCI in relation to his alleged physical abuse of FDJ’s Sebastian Reichenbach. The Italian is accused of pushing Reichenbach off his bike during the Tre Valle Varisene race, fracturing his elbow and hip.
It seems that Sky might be willing to sacrifice Moscon for six months if it helps the cause of their team leader and his goal of winning both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.
“This definitely sounds like a ‘sweeten the pot’ deal from Sky,” said Nigel Haverford, an expert in sports ethics at the College of London. “It’s like those crime movies where they give up the little fish so the big fish goes free. As a legal strategy, it doesn’t hurt to package that with compelling scientific data on kidney malfunction. It’s Gianni plus kidney.
This new development further clouds a complex legal case that may well drag on past the Giro and Tour de France. Nor is it clear whether Moscon would be willing to become a helpless pawn in a legal case that has nothing to do with him. However, should he wish to remain on the Sky roster and in the team’s good graces, he may have to play the loyal domestique and take the hit.
“Sky is going to exhaust every possible legal strategy. They’re going to throw everything at those judges,” said Haverford. “Remember that the legal documents from Contador’s legal team during his clenbuterol case ran over 6000 pages. You can double or triple that for Froome. Moscon is just an extra bone they’re throwing to the UCI to make the governing body look strong on rider safety.”
It remains to be seen if Sky will actually pursue the Moscon-for-Froome scenario. However, in a legal case with such high stakes and potential impact on the sport of pro cycling, anything is possible.
(Is this story really true? Of course not. This is Twisted Spoke — It’s a complete fabrication. But admit that in the crazy world of cycling, it’s almost believable.)