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Moscon punctuates rocky season with Guangxi stage win

The Sky rider climbed to victory in stage 4 of the race in southern China.

MASHAN, China (VN) — Italian Gianni Moscon (Sky) punctuated a difficult 2018 season by winning the mountain stage at the Tour of Guangxi Friday.

Moscon flew free on the Mashan summit finish among Guangxi’s famous mountains. The win, which earned him the race leader’s red jersey, comes after this summer’s Tour de France troubles. The race jury ejected him for trying to punch another rider and he served a five-week suspension.

“We were almost full gas when I saw that the others were tired. I thought, ‘Now is the moment.’ It was my feeling, no thoughts. I attacked, took a gap and I pushed ahead,” Moscon said.

“The most important thing was winning today. The stage tomorrow is long and pretty hard with some climbs. I expect a good battle tomorrow, but I have a strong team with me. Also, my condition is good.”

Two stages remain in the 2018 Tour of Guangxi in the south of China. Last year, Belgian Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) won the race overall.

Moscon is on fire after his suspension. He won his first race back, the Coppa Agostoni. He followed that with wins in the Giro della Toscana and the Italian national time trial championship. With his stage victory Friday, he is poised to win the Guangxi overall Sunday.

Moscon threw a punch toward Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Samsic) in stage 15 of the Tour. He was sent home while teammate Geraint Thomas went on to win the race overall.

“It has been a difficult season. I started with an injury, a broken scaphoid, and everything that you already know. And finishing the season like this is a good end of the season,” Moscon said.

“I don’t want to speak anymore about [the Tour incident]. We spoke about it already a lot. Maybe too much. Everyone has his own opinion about what happened, I don’t have to explain anything.”

That incident followed others. Team Sky suspended the 24-year-old after he hurled a racial slur in the 2017 Tour de Romandie toward the Frenchman Kévin Reza. Later in the year, he allegedly pushed a rider off his bike in the Tre Valli Varesine. The UCI disciplinary committee cleared him over a lack of evidence.