Gianni Moscon (Team Ineos) is enjoying a surge of good form at the Tour of California that he is hoping to build on as he looks to race the Tour de France in July. The Italian was initially slated to race the Giro d'Italia but told Cyclingnews that he revised his plans because he wasn't in good enough shape to race a Grand Tour in May.
"I'm in good shape but I'm not in my best shape, and it would be nice to be at the Giro d'Italia but as the best Gianni that I can be," Moscon told Cyclingnews at the finish line of stage 2 in South Lake Tahoe. "It's because my numbers are still not the best, but they will come for sure."
25 year-old Moscon is one of Italy's fastest-rising talents in professional cycling. He joined Team Sky in 2016 when he was an under-23 rider and has excelled with overall wins at the Tour of Guangxi and the Arctic Race of Norway. He has also won the Coppa Agostoni and the Giro della Toscana, and was third at Il Lombardia and fifth at Paris-Roubaix. But his career has also been rife with controversy after he racially abused Kevin Reza in 2017, and he was then disqualified from the Tour de France for throwing a punch at Elie Gesbert last year. He was suspended after both incidents.
Moscon had a strong start to this season in training but then struggled after a crash at the UAE Tour in March. He criticised the team's decision to send him to a training camp in Colombia earlier in February, venting his frustrations in an interview with the Italian Bicisport magazine.
He was supposed to ride the Giro d'Italia in support of Egan Bernal. The Colombian was forced to the sidelines, however, with a broken collarbone sustained in training. Team Ineos later announced the Giro d'Italia team to include Pavel Sivakov, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Sebastian Henao, Christian Knees, Salvatore Puccio, Jhonathan Narvarez, Eddie Dunbar and Ivan Sosa, but not Moscon.
Moscon told Cyclingnews that he'd decided to race the Tour of California.
"I decided to skip the Giro, and come here to enjoy the Tour of California and train well for the Tour de France, maybe."
Moscon finished third on stage 2 – a 214.5km race that included 5,000m of climbing between Rancho Cordova and South Lake Tahoe. He reached the finish with a select group and sprinted in behind winner Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and runner-up Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First). Van Garderen now leads the overall classification with Moscon in second place, six seconds back.
"It was a long day on the bike, but I felt good and confident," Moscon told Cyclingnews.
"I think it's the right way to return to racing after the Classics. I went 100 per cent today, but after a nice block of racing, it will give me an extra boost for the upcoming races, and I'm looking forward to the Tour de France."