Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) marked his return to racing in style after taking victory from the breakaway at the one-day Italian race the Coppa Agostoni on Saturday.
The Italian made his racing return from a five-week ban he received for attempting to punch French rider Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Samsic) at the 2018 Tour de France in July.
The 24-year-old broke clear of the peloton within the final 60km of the race in northern Italy, catching the day’s main breakaway out front and grouping together with Damiano Caruso (Italy) and Angel Madrazo (Delko Marseille).
Rein Taaramäe (Direct Energie) was able to bridge across from a chasing group and went clear with Moscon, with the pair reaching the final kilometre together.
There was nothing the Estonian could do in the final sprint however, and was comfortably beaten by Moscon on his return to to racing.
The Coppa Agostoni also marked debuts for three Team Sky riders. Ethan Hayter and Mark Donovan both took part in their first race as stagiaires with the team, while Irishman Eddie Dunbar also competed in Sky colours for the first time after signing a mid-season contract with the team.
Sport director Dario Cioni said on the race to TeamSky.com: “It was a hard race and also a long way from the local circuit to the finish line. This was a challenge, but Gianni was very motivated to work and he’s done a lot of training up on the Stelvio. Obviously today he also wanted to show to the Italian team ahead of the World Championships that he is ready to race.
“He did a ride very similar to what Egan (Bernal) did last year and we decided to take it on. Mark Donovan was pulling early on, and then Eddie and (Michal) Golas took it up before the last two climbs. That is where Gianni went and he managed to get away. It was a long way with a small gap, but we know he is a good time triallist so we were confident that he could hold on.
“When Taaramäe came across that was a good thing and that helped a lot for the last 10km. Gianni played it really smart at the finish. He put himself in the best position and started the last kilometre on the wheel. He was very smart.”
Coppa Agostoni 2018 (199.9km)
1. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky
2. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Direct Energie
3. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida