Gianni Moscon to ride debut Giro d’Italia in 2019

After being banned from racing for five weeks, the Italian finished strong last season

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Gianni Moscon will ride his home Grand Tour for the first time this season after attacking the cobbled Classics.

The Italian, whose powerhouse performances have been overshadowed by a string of controversies, will ride the Giro d’Italia for the first time in May.

Moscon, 24, also hopes to find form in the spring and improve on his fifth place finish at Paris-Roubaix.

He said: “The main objective for the next season is the Classics in Belgium, the pavè Classics, and then I’m really looking forward to the Giro – my first Giro d’Italia.

“Riding the Giro d’Italia is really exciting for me.

“As an Italian kid I grew up watching the Giro and now to be there on that screen with all my family watching in Italy will be amazing.”

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Moscon will ride in support of young super-talent Egan Bernal, who will be leading the team’s general classification hopes in only his second season at WorldTour level.

Last season, Moscon continued his run of controversial behaviour when he was suspended for five weeks for hitting Fortuneo-Samsic rider Elie Gerbert on stage 15 of the Tour de France.

A year earlier, he racially abused Kevin Reza at the Tour de Romandie and then was accused of deliberately causing Sebastien Reichenbach to crash during Tre Valli Varesine over Reichenbach’s comments after the racial abuse. That case was closed by the UCI due to a lack of evidence.

After coming back from his 2018 suspension, Moscon rode a strong end to the season, winning Coppa Agostoni, Giro della Toscana, the Italian national time trial title and winning the Tour of Guangxi overall.

He said: “Hopefully I will continue the good form of the last part of the season.

“It’s always difficult to get to the top condition when you want but I started last year well and I’m really confident I can be in good shape in the spring.”

On targeting the Classics after a fifth-place finish at Paris-Roubaix in 2017, Moscon said: “I love the pavè. It’s unique. You ride on that terrain only for the Classics and no more during the season, that’s what makes the atmosphere. It’s something epic.

“My fifth place in Paris-Roubaix gives me motivation to go there and get a better result and really fight for the win.

“I think arriving so close in 2017 makes me hope for a big result.”

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Moscon also rode to a fifth-place finish at the Innsbruck World Championships last year and is looking ahead to the 2019 Yorkshire Worlds.

He said: “Of course the World Championships in Yorkshire is one of the objectives for this season.

“Some people say it’s easy, some people say it’s hard.

“I think it will be a hard World Championships likes always.

“The distance is really long and I don’t think there are any easy roads in Yorkshire.

“I rode the Tour de Yorkshire in 2016. What I remember is the massive amount of people watching the race on the side of the road, even if it was raining.

“The atmosphere is simply amazing. The race was hard, no flat at all. You are always on the pedals.”