Moser has not won a race since finishing ahead of his then Cannondale teammate Peter Sagan in 2013. He has shown flashes of his class and pedigree but has been hampered by personal doubts and mistakes with his training and racing schedule. Cannondale-Garmin has Sebastian Weber as team coach but riders are allowed to use personal coaches and Moser revealed to Gazzetta dello Sport that he has opted to work with Michele Bartoli this season. The former Classics winner from the nineties also coaches many of the Lampre-Merida riders and Carlos Betancur of Ag2r-La Mondiale.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport on the eve of this year’s Strade Bianche race, Moser recalls his 2013 victory as “a perfect race.” “Not because I didn’t do anything wrong but because at least when you win, you don’t have to dig things up to understand your mistakes; for once you can avoid doing that.”
Moser said he realised his climbing ability and Classics skills were suited to the rolling roads of Strade Bianche in 2012. He hoped for a second victory in 2014 but was hit by a fever just a few days before the race. On Saturday he will line up alongside Ryder Hesjedal and Nathan Haas in the 2015 Cannondale-Garmin squad and is more optimistic about his chances after finishing sixth overall at the Tour Down Under and then eighth at the Trofeo Laigueglia despite being hit by a flu bug during the team’s training camp in Mallorca.
“Strade Bianche is a difficult race to understand and to get right. More than other races, it depends on the weather. The wind, when you train on the course on your own, is not a problem. But when you’re in the peloton, it’s worse than the climbs and can dump you on the ground on the dirt roads,” Moser explained.
“It’s difficult to predict what will happen. A break could go and stay away, but then again it might not be the decisive move. The final group could include, 10, 30 or just five riders as we hit the final climb (to Siena), it’s a very open race.”
Working with Bartoli
Moser as only raced for eight days so far this season but prefers to train at home at Palù di Giovo near Trento. He is hopeful that Bartoli can help restore his confidence and fitness.
“I prefer to work hard while training than race to get fit. That means less racing but more quality racing,” Moser said.
“Michele agrees and perhaps see a bit of himself in me. The team has a lot of faith in me and that boosts my morale. After such a disappointing 2014 – phyically, mentally, organisationally, everything – I needed to make a change. Things can’t get worse…”
Moser’s season will continue at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo before targeting the Ardennes Classics and then stages at the Giro d’Italia.