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Moscon to make Giro d'Italia debut in 2019

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Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) enjoys his moment of success

Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) enjoys his moment of success
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gianni Moscon with race speakers Anne Wu and Brad Sohner

Gianni Moscon with race speakers Anne Wu and Brad Sohner
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Gianni Moscon (Team Sky)

Gianni Moscon (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gianni Moscon (Italy)

Gianni Moscon (Italy)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gianni Moscon (Team Sky)

Gianni Moscon (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Gianni Moscon is set to make his Giro d’Italia debut next season, though he has downplayed his prospects of leading Team Sky’s overall challenge at the corsa rosa.

Speaking after he sealed final overall victory at the Tour of Guangxi on Sunday, Moscon revealed that he plans to line out at the 2019 Giro, but the Italian time trial champion stressed that his target would be stage victories rather than a tilt at the general classification.

“I will do the Classics again until Roubaix and then the plan is the Giro,” Moscon said. “I really would like to do the Giro and try to be in good shape there. It’s difficult after doing the Classics, but I will try to do it and go for some stages and see what happens. There are also those three time trials, which could be a good opportunity for me to test myself.”

The 2019 Giro will get underway from Bologna on May 11 with a short uphill time trial to the Sanctuario San Luca, while RCS Sport has already confirmed another, 35km test for stage 9 between Riccione and San Marino. La Stampa last week reported that the Giro will conclude with a 15km time trial to the Roman amphitheatre in Verona.

Chris Froome led Team Sky at the 2018 Giro, claiming overall victory after staging an improbable comeback on the road to Bardonecchia on stage 19, but it remains to be seen if he or Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas can be tempted to ride the Giro next season. Egan Bernal, who so impressed at this year’s Tour, is another rider who could conceivably lead Sky’s team next May.

“I don’t know yet who is the leader in the Giro,” Moscon said. “I don’t think it will be me. I don’t think I’m ready to go for GC in a Grand Tour, of course. I will be there for stages.”

Moscon has lined out in two Grand Tours to date in his career. He completed the 2017 Vuelta a España in 27th place overall after catching the eye in his support of the eventual winner Froome in the mountains. The 24-year-old was disqualified from this year’s Tour de France after aiming a punch at Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Samsic) in the opening kilometres of stage 15.

After being handed a five-week suspension by the UCI for the incident, Moscon returned to action in mid-September, winning the Coppa Agostoni and Giro della Toscana, and placing fifth at the World Championships in Innsbruck. He continued his late-season run at the Tour of Guangxi, setting up overall victory by claiming stage victory at Nongla on Friday.

The Tour of Guangxi is Moscon’s first WorldTour stage race victory as a professional – he also won the Arctic Race of Norway in 2016 – but he downplayed its relevance as an indicator of future performance in Grand Tours, mindful that the five of the race’s six stages finished in bunch sprints.

“I think it’s early to talk about that. Grand Tours are another story and for now my role will be to help my teammates and maybe try to win some stages,” Moscon said. “But we’ll see as we go on, based on my condition.”

Guangxi

The peloton was buffeted by heavy rain throughout the final stage of the Tour of Guangxi in Guilin, where Moscon finished safely in the main peloton as Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors) notched up his second win of the week.

Moscon’s 2018 season began on an ill-starred note, as injury hampered him during the spring Classics, and his expulsion from the Tour raised questions about his future on Team Sky given that the team had already issued a public warning about his future behaviour when he was sidelined for six weeks after racially abusing Kevin Réza at the 2017 Tour de Romandie. His late-season run of form has seen him notch up five victories for the year.

“In this final part of the season I had the chances to go myself for the win,” Moscon said. “I had the full support of the team and that’s the reason why I got the results at the end of the season instead of before.”