Kevin Reza, the only black rider at last year's Tour de France, says punishments for racism should be on par with drug offences as he speaks out on inequality in cycling.
There are just five black riders competing in the WorldTour - cycling's highest division of road cycling.
And in May 2017, Gianni Moscon - then at TeamSky - was suspended after he racially abused Reza at the Toue de Romandie. He was suspended for six weeks.
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Reza has called on cycling's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), to take action on racism as with drug cheats.
"I've known racism since I was young," Reza told Sky Sports. "I am destined to know it by my birth and my origins, it is like that. Unfortunately, it is painful and degrading. But we are used to living like that and it should not be a habit.
"They (UCI) manage to ban cheaters who take drugs, which is normal... I think that racism and discrimination in general must be on a par with these kinds of acts. I do not see any other action that can be taken against racist acts.

Team Vital Concept Cycling Club rider France's Kevin Reza waits prior to the 21st and last stage of the 107th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 122 km between Mantes-la-Jolie and Champs Elysees Paris, on September 20, 2020

Image credit: Getty Images

"As a minimum, you would expect to see a racist get punished like a doper. I think this is one of the best solutions. It would show they're taking a strong stance in terms of supporting action against the various forms of discrimination within sport."
The Black Lives Matter movement has found its rightful place in sport this season, with Premier League footballers taking a knee before each match.
Last year, Reza used his platform at the Tour de France to project his voice, and says he has relished his role as an advocate for progress and solidarity as sport tackles racism.
"Since last year, it's been a kind of release and opening that was given to me," he says. "I grabbed it with both hands.
"It's just something that makes me want to be able to share and interact with people, those who may or may not be racist, but at least we can have a proper exchange and I can share my ideas and thoughts.
"And that's something that I enjoy since it's a subject that remains taboo and that we aren't used to talking about openly. I've been able to do that since the 2020 Tour de France.
"It's not like I couldn't do that for years, but I was given the opportunity to do it on the biggest race in the world. This is something that makes me happy and that also allows us to spark debate.

Gianni Moscon parte all'attacco in solitaria durante la Omloop Het Niewsblad 2021 - Getty Images

Image credit: Getty Images

The UCi said they "firmly condemn all forms of racism and discrimination" in a statement provided to Sky Sports News.
It adds: "On the contrary, via its Constitution, its Code of Ethics, its Regulations and its programs, it upholds the principles of inclusion and the respect of others."
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