Ahead of the World Championships, Italian Gianni Moscon was aiming to surprise in the race against the clock. The national time trial champion was coming off his debut Grand Tour where he helped Sky teammate Chris Froome to the overall win at the Vuelta a España.
Moscon crossed the line just a second slower than provisional leader Nelson Oliveira (Portugal) at the conclusion of his race and, while well positioned for a shot at the medals, the 23-year-old explained he knew there were too many good riders to come to dream of the podium.
"It was nice but I knew that many strong riders were left. I think if I do a top ten today I can be happy," Moscon said. "I was not feeling super good since the morning but anyway, I did a good time trial for my standard. Just one point to start working for the next season."
With the challenging climb of Mount Fløyen featuring in the finale, riders were split on opting for a change from time trial bike to road bike. For Moscon, the low weight of his Pinarello Bolide meant there was little incentive to change his bike.
"We didn't change the bike because our TT bike is quite light. Just one kilo difference between the lighter bike we have," he said. "So a short climb like this, makes not a big difference. You saw a lot of other guys didn't change their bikes and I think that was the best option for us."
Sitting on the virtual podium until the eventual medallists, Chris Froome (Great Britain), Primoz Roglic (Slovenia), and Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands), finished the race, Moscon was commenting on the ride by teammate Froome when he spoke to Cyclingnews, explaining the astonishment at the energy reserves of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España champion.
"For sure he was one of the favourites but he had a long season and after the Vuelta it is possible that he is still tired. I feel tired and I can't imagine him doing the Tour and Vuelta."
With the time trial done and dusted, Moscon is looking ahead to Sunday's road race, where Italy will have several cards to play in its bid for a first medal since 2007, when Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego went one-two. Pointing to the last two world champions, Michał Kwiatkowski (Poland) and Peter Sagan (Slovakia), along with the strong Belgian squad, Moscon also suggested the Italians could fly under the radar and spring a surprise.
"Sunday is a big appointment for us. I think we have a really strong team with a high average level," he said. "We know the favourites are others like Kwiatkowski, Sagan, [Greg] Van Avermaet but we try to use our cards as best as possible and use the strength of the team working together to get the best result that we can."