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Moscon finds redemption in the worlds

After starting the season overtrained, fatigue and a lack of opportunity to rest led to a string of lackluster performances from the Italian.

Gianni Moscon (Ineos) had a “difficult year,” but the world championships showed how the talented Italian, with a solid break and hours of hard work, could put himself back on track.

Moscon worked to propel Italian teammate Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) towards the final in Yorkshire on Sunday. Trentin faded in the sprint, placed second – and Moscon, after suffering through the 2019 classics and the Tour de France, placed fourth.

“In any case, I have learned that certain errors will no longer have to be committed,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, reflecting on the difficult 2019 season. “In cycling and in life.”

The 25-year-old from Trentino suffered from crashes in the UAE Tour in February, and in March, quit Tirreno-Adriatico after two days. He rode an anonymous classics season through Paris-Roubaix on April 14.

“A very difficult year. It started badly and worsened,” Moscon said.

“The desire to overdo it always makes you lose track. In the winter, I worked like never before. Hours and hours on the bike and specific training. The same in Colombia, at the beginning of the year: Hours and hours, and I came back like a corpse. I could not recover, because I could never take 10 days off the bike.

“After the classics, I was planning on the Giro d’Italia. Then we changed and I did the Tour but the opportunity to take a break never came. If I had known I had to prepare for the Tour de France from the start, it would have been different.”

The team recruited him to support Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas, who would go on to finish first and second overall in the Tour. It took its toll on an already exhausted Moscon.

“I was trying to build form on a body that was already exhausted,” he said. “I was already tired when I left to go to the Tour.”

He “swelled up like a balloon” in the Tour. He began weighing 70kg and ended at 80kg, 154 to 176lbs.

“I was dead,” Moscon continued. “Fatigue, retention, I ate more… I didn’t recognize myself.”

He made some tweaks. Finally, he had eight solid days off his bike and took care of himself. He tested himself on the Stelvio climb, “almost crying at times.” But he had time.

In the Tour of Britain, he returned and began to show the Moscon-spark that initially shot him to fifth in the 2017 Paris-Roubaix and to victories in four races at the end of 2018.

“The race was really extreme. Never I had ridden one like that,” he said of the worlds.

“I couldn’t wait for it to end. After 130km, I had already worked so hard, I thought I was sick. At the entrance to the circuits, I said to myself, ‘Here we die.’

“I saved myself with resistance and regularity. I missed that touch of brilliance, as with the whole season. But I think the worlds for the whole team and for me, was excellent, better than anyone’s expectations.”