Moscon looks to surprise in Worlds time trial

'I don't honestly know what I can do in the time trial,' says Italian

Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin top the bill in the elite men's time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen on Wednesday but the testing course and 3.4km climb to the finish atop Mount Fløyen is expected to produce surprises, with rouleur-climbers better suited to the finish than pure time triallists.

Defending champion Tony Martin has ruled out the chance of a fifth title due to the climb, with new French coach Cyril Guimard tipping Froome as the favourite but suggesting his Team Sky teammates Vasil Kiryienka and Gianni Moscon could produce a surprise.

Kiryienka was world time trial champion in Richmond in 2015, while Moscon is arguably the revelation of the 2017 season. His only victory was the Italian national time trial title but he finished fifth at Paris-Roubaix, while riding a full Classics campaign. Still only 23, Moscon made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana, helping Froome complete his historic Tour-Vuelta.

Moscon made headlines of a troubling kind in April, when he racially abused Kevin Reza of FDJ during the Tour de Romandie. Team Sky kept Moscon in the Tour de Romandie until the end of the race, but eventually suspended him from racing for six weeks.

Moscon appears to have huge potential for the Classics but showed, like Geraint Thomas has done in the past, that he could be a Grand Tour rider while working for Froome. He was often able to stay with the front group and work for Froome alongside Wout Poels and Mikel Nieve. He finished 13th on the stage to the Angliru finish and reached Madrid in 27th place.

Moscon is one of a handful of riders who will ride all three elite men's races in Bergen. He was part of Team Sky's line-up that finished third in Sunday's team time trial. He is Italy's only rider in the time trial and then has secured one of the nine slots in the Italian Squadra for Sunday's road race.

He is also used to racing in Norway, having won a stage and the overall classification at the 2016 Arctic Tour of Norway. He won 500kg of salmon for his victory which he shared with everyone at Team Sky during a training camp and then with family, friends and his tifosi at a party during the winter.

Moscon has raced for 67 days so far this season but still has something left for the time trial and road race and is not concerned about tackling three world championships races in a week.

"Racing is hard when you have to work on the front for 100km and luckily I've never had to do that. The efforts I did on the climbs in the Vuelta were much shorter and then you move off," Moscon told La Gazzetta dello Sport recently.

"Team Sky has helped me develop gradually. I'm on the right track. I'm doing all three races in Bergen but the time trials are only an hour-long effort. I don't think the time trials will affect my form for the road race. I've done the work."

Moscon played down his chances for the individual time trial despite having the capacity as a rouleur to shine on the flat roads and the climbing ability for the 3.4km haul up to the finish.

"I don't honestly know what I can do in the time trial. It's the first time I've ridden the time trial at pro level," he said. "It's the same for the road race. Other riders are the big favourites but we've got a strong Italian team. We're quietly confident.

"I'm pretty laid back and modest when I talk about my goals. But I know I've prepared well. That's enough to make me confident but chilled out. The only thing I can do now is race and go for it."

Moscon will be among the final starters in Bergen on Wednesday afternoon, rolling down the start ramp at just after 16:15 local time. 

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