Overall victory at Guangxi gives Moscon confidence as he eyes a first start and stage victories at his home Grand Tour

GUILIN, China (VN) — Italian Gianni Moscon (Team Sky), who made headlines with recent controversial episodes, ended his season on a high with the Tour of Guangxi overall victory. With Sunday’s win, he can look ahead to a better 2019 and the Giro d’Italia.

Moscon won the summit finish stage Friday and Sunday, defended the red leader’s jersey around Guilin’s rain-soaked streets and to its famous pagoda temples.

“It’s the best way to end the season this, winning,” Moscon said. “I’m really happy to have won the race and now I go back home really happy.”

Moscon helped Sky’s Geraint Thomas towards his Tour de France win this July. However, he could not stay to enjoy the final celebrations as the jury sent him home after he threw a punch at a competitor in stage 15.

He sat out for five weeks. The suspension came on the heels of two episodes in 2017: making a racial comment towards a black French rider one race and accused of forcing a rider to crash in another.

Attention fell on Moscon in 2017 also for his results: Fifth in Paris-Roubaix when only 22 years old and star helper for Chris Froome’s Vuelta a España later in the year.

The 2018 season, incidents aside, did not start as well.

“I think I had a good shape also after the Dauphiné,” he added. “I was feeling good and at the Tour as well but my job was completely different. I was not there to win races but there to help to win races, and actually I think I did my job well.”

He returned from his suspension and won three races, including his first race back. Now, he won a stage and the overall in the Tour of Guangxi, China’s WorldTour event.

“In this final of the season, I had the chances to go myself for the win,” he continued. “I had the full support of the team and that’s the reason why I got the results at the end of the season instead of before.”

In 2019, Moscon will aim to race the Giro d’Italia. Team-mate Chris Froome won the race in 2018. It is uncertain who will lead Sky in 2019 at the Giro when Moscon could line up in his home race for the first time.

“Of course, I will do the classics again until Roubaix and then the plan is the Giro. I really would like to do the Giro and try to be in good shape there. It’s difficult, doing the Classics, but I will try to do it and go for some stages and see what happens. There are also those three time trials which could be a good opportunity to test myself,” he said.

“I don’t know yet who is the leader in the Giro. I don’t think it will be me but I don’t think I’m ready to GC in a Grand Tour, of course. I will be there for stages.”

The Chinese WorldTour race included one local rider and came on the heels of the news that a new WorldTour team from China, now called GCP, may begin in 2020. For Moscon, the China victory provided him a confidence boost.

“It gives me a bit more confidence for the future,” he said. “I’ve had two nice wins here, the stage and the GC, which are always nice.”