Living less than two hours from our headquarters, Gianni Moscon is a familiar face in the office and in the local cycling community in the Veneto and Trentino regions. In our work with the pros, we often have the opportunity to meet some amazing people who share our passion. Sometimes the person behind the sunglasses is different than you might expect.
The 24-year-old Team Sky rider from Val di Non weathered a big storm when he was ejected from the Tour de France last year and suspended for five weeks after being seen taking a swing at Fortuneo-Samsic’s Elie Gesbert during stage 15.
We’re not ignoring what people think, but we want to provide more insight into the real Gianni Moscon in this article and video.
MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE SUNGLASSES
On a cold November day, we sat down with Moscon at the family farm in Livo, Trentino, for a chat about his rapid rise in the pro ranks, Team Sky, his passion for cycling, his first pedal strokes and growing up as an apple farmer.
The hugely gifted 24-year-old is considered one of the biggest talents in the sport. He finished fifth in his second attempt at Paris-Roubaix and third in his first attempt at Il Lombardia. He played a significant role in helping Chris Froome win the 2017 Vuelta a España, and he is Italy’s national time-trial champion for the second consecutive year.
The Italian powerhouse rounded out 2018 with a string of victories, including in the Giro della Toscana and Tour of Guangxi (his first win at the WorldTour level), and a fifth-place finish at the Innsbruck world championships, 13 seconds behind Valverde, while pre-race favorite Julian Alaphilippe of France had to settle for eighth after being dropped on the steep (28 percent maximum) ramp of the decisive Höttinger Höll climb inside the final 10 kilometers. With other great results to his name, Moscon is knocking on the door of major one-day successes.
“At the moment I’m an all-rounder, and I’m happy. I’ll keep going like this. I don’t have too much focus on one discipline,” said Moscon. It’s that all-around ability that has seen him stand out in several forms of racing, and he’s more than happy to continue like that for the time being.
“He’s improving all the time, and it won’t be long until he’s winning some big bike races,” said Maurizio Fondriest, 1988 world champion.
Moscon’s career could follow the same path as that of his teammate Geraint Thomas, who rode well in the classics and then made the switch to Grand Tour rider, and G is quick to acknowledge the impact his teammate has made:
“He’s a quality bike rider. He’s aggressive; he has respect for guys, but he also holds his own, fights for the team and holds his position. He’s a massive talent who will only get better as he gets older,” said Geraint Thomas.
“What I like about Gianni is that when you look him in the eyes you see that he has a lot of passion, a lot of desire to ride hard. It’s what I had too,” said Gilberto Simoni, two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia.
Moscon’s eyes light up when the cobbled spring classics are mentioned, particularly Paris-Roubaix. “My fifth place in Paris-Roubaix gives me the motivation to go there and get a better result and really fight for the win this year,” he said.
GROWING UP ON AN APPLE FARM
Moscon seemed destined to be an apple farmer, born and raised on the family farm in Trentino, the same region that produced other great cycling champions like Francesco Moser, Maurizio Fondriest and Gilberto Simoni.
Moscon spent most of his childhood learning the ropes and helping out on the farm. Even today he will pitch in during the off-season, contributing to his nickname “Il Trattore” (“The Tractor”).
The Italian laughs when asked if his parents expected him to become a cyclist.
“Growing up I was always on the farm, and I don’t think they expected this! Even as I grew older I always kept up my education — in my first year as an Under 23 I was still at school,” he said.
“Then in 2015 I really concentrated on my cycling. I tried to do all the training I could, and I would see what happened — maybe I could make the step to the professional ranks. Maybe not. I could have found something else or maybe worked on the farm. But in the end, well, here I am.”
The farming career will have to wait, as he has enjoyed surprising results during his first three seasons in the professional ranks at Team Sky, surpassing his and the team’s expectations.
“My first piece of advice for Gianni is to not try to change as a rider because he’s already exceptional and very talented,” said Dario Cioni, Team Sky sports director.
FIRST GIRO D’ITALIA
Moscon will ride his home Grand Tour for the first time this season, after racing Paris-Roubaix on Sunday and then completing a two-week altitude training camp in Livigno. Moscon will ride as a co-captain in support of the young Colombian Egan Bernal, who will be leading the team’s general classification hopes.
“I’m really looking forward to my first Giro d’Italia,” he said. “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 and exciting for me.”
WORKING WITH CASTELLI
The Castelli and Team Sky aero speed project is the result of a shared passion for results-driven innovation; CFD modeling followed by extensive pattern engineering and fabric research, then further testing in the wind tunnel and on the road with the riders.
“I think it’s a very constructive relationship. It’s all about developing products to improve the rider’s performance. I’ve been with Castelli to the wind tunnel several times to test new materials,” said Moscon. “They’re also very good in guiding us on what products to use for different conditions. In the end, we have 62 different items in our clothing arsenal.”
The team staff and riders provide us with valuable feedback that we use to continuously improve our products. This is vital for Castelli because most of the Team Sky products end up in our Castelli collection, so we’re happy to incorporate Team Sky’s expertise to make faster and more comfortable clothing for cyclists everywhere.
In the past decade, the greatest performance gains in cycling have come from clothing. And we believe that the biggest opportunities are still to be found in clothing — whether that’s further improvements in aerodynamics or completely new product categories like the Gabba, which changed the way the pro peloton dresses for racing in cold and wet conditions.
With Castelli’s single-minded mission to make the most innovative clothing for the cyclist seeking maximum performance, we leave nothing to chance.
If Tour of Flanders is for the hard men, Paris-Roubaix is for the hard men with luck on their side. In Roubaix almost everything can happen, crashes and mechanicals are par for the course. Good luck to Team Sky’s two hopes for Sunday, Dylan Van Baarle and Gianni Moscon.
Video by: Federico Vitali
Images: Edoardo Civiero, GettySport