Moreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale) has been one of the revelations of the 2012 season and the Italian neo-professional is aiming to round out his debut campaign with selection for the world championships in Valkenburg.
Just 21 years of age, Moser won his third race as a professional, the Trofeo Laigueglia in February, and followed that up with wins at the GP Frankfurt and the general classification at the Tour of Poland.
Indeed, after his Polish victory, there was a late clamour for Moser’s inclusion in the Italian team for the London 2012 Olympics, but by that point coach Paolo Bettini had already selected his line-up.
“Simply put, the coach had to pick his men for London before my exploit in Poland, so I wasn’t under any illusions,” Moser told Tuttobici. “Even though I had done the pre-Olympic testing, I wasn’t hopeful from the start. When I got back from Poland, I spoke on the phone with Bettini who confirmed that he would really have liked to have had me in London, but the rules meant that the selections had to be entered early, so there wasn’t much to be done.”
In spite of his tender years, it seems increasingly likely that Moser will be included in Bettini’s nine-man team for Valkenburg. “Yes, I might not necessarily have to ride as a gregario there,” he smiled. “I’ll work to get there in top form. It’s for that reason that I rested a bit after Poland and changed my plans. I skipped the Eneco Tour and went to Colorado [for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge – ed.] instead.”
The finish line of the Worlds comes a little over a kilometre over the top of the Cauberg, but illness meant that Moser missed out on the chance to reconnoitre it at Amstel Gold Race in April.
“I got sick at the Tour of Basque Country so I couldn’t ride Amstel and test it,” Moser said. “But it seems like it should suit my characteristics, so I’m working with that objective in mind.”
While the Worlds and Italian one-day races may be Moser’s chief objective for the remainder of 2012, he admitted that his Tour of Poland victory means that he is harbouring grander ambitions in the years to come.
“I came away with two stages and the knowledge that I can aim for the Giro d’Italia and the big three-week races,” he said. “I’m only 21 and I’m not in a hurry, but I can hang in there on the short climbs and I’m good in the time trial. If I improve on the longer climbs, I’ll be able to aspire to racing on the roads of the Tour de France and – why not? – surprising myself again.”