Moreno Moser is the favourite for the Elite men's Italian road race championship on Saturday which covers a tough 229km route on his home roads in the Val di Non, close to Trento.
22 year-old Moser, the nephew of seventies legend and hour record holder Francesco Moser, finished third in last year's title behind Franco Pellizotti and Danilo Di Luca and was second in the Trofeo Melinda, the race which hosts this year's title race. Despite struggling to repeat his success of the 2012 season, Moser won the Strade Bianche race in the spring and played a key role in much of Peter Sagan's success at the Cannondale team, including at the recent Tour de Suisse.
Moser will team up with Sagan at the Tour de France for Cannondale and so has an excellent chance of riding his first Grand Boucle in the iconic Italian champion's tricolore jersey.
The Cannondale team is expected to work to help Moser and has entered 12 riders for the road race. Ivan Basso is amongst them as he makes his return from the saddle sore that forced him to miss the Giro d'Italia.
With multiple Italian champion Giovanni Visconti out of action due to a crash at the Tour de Suisse, the other favourites for the tricolore include 2012 winner Pellizotti, Damiano Cunego and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) and Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale).
The Cyclingnews HD route preview
The Italian National Road Race Championships will be decided on the route of the former Trofeo Melinda. A twisting circuit around the Val di Non area of the Trentino region in the north of Italy, it starts in Malé and will take the riders on a 229km journey around the area before finishing in Fondo.
Colombia’s Carlos Betancur won 2012’s Trofeo Melinda but, with the national title at stake, this year’s race is an exclusively Italian affair.
The field will roll out from the start in Malé’s Piazza Regina Elena and head southwest along the valley towards Dimaro. There the riders will swing left off the main road and into Dimaro, which they’ll roll through before turning back towards Malé and then further north east to Livo. Aside from a few sweeping bends, there’s nothing on the route to trouble the riders as they make their way gradually downhill to Mostizzolo. But the fun will begin as soon as they pass through that village, as the next 20km to Rumo are all uphill.
At Rumo, the riders turn right and head downhill again, this time along a wooded hillside to Revo. From there, the field embarks upon an approximately 50km-long loop taking them south and further downhill towards Denno before turning around and gradually climbing back to Revo. On their second arrival at Revo, the riders will pass through the village then swing left to head north and start the first of their four and a half laps of the 20km finishing circuit. Revo sits 750m above sea level and the first 10km of the lap will see the riders gain a further 319m of elevation as they climb up through Fondo (where they’ll eventually finish) and on to the race’s highest point at Ronzone. After Ronzone, it’s downhill back to Revo to start the next lap.
While neither the climbs nor the descents are especially difficult, what makes the course challenging is that there’s very little of anything else. The riders will spend the entire race either going uphill or coming back down and, with the tricolore jersey at stake, they’ll be doing both at a punishing pace.
Cycling News HD
You can get the full preview of the Italian National Road Race in this week’s issue of Cycling News HD. This week’s issue looks forward at the key national road races, with routes and full start lists. We take a look back and Rui Costa’s second consecutive win, at the Tour de Suisse. All with stunning photography and in depth analysis. Plus an exclusive interview Jakob Fuglsang, as he embarks on three of the most important weeks of his career.
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