Young guns series: Moreno Moser arrives with a flourish
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Young guns series: Moreno Moser arrives with a flourish

by Reno Van Dael at 5:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Francesco Moser’s nephew underlines class with Trofeo Laigueglia win

Moreno MoserAt the end of each season, there are riders who decide to retire or step down to the amateur leagues of cycling, sometimes forced by injury or contracts not being extended. The void they leave behind is filled by new riders, who either step up from U23 ranks or have some experience from already riding for a continental team. In the coming weeks VeloNation will introduce you to some of the most promising or most noticeable new riders, whom you may or may not have heard of before.

After starting with the Omega Pharma Quick Step rider Andy Fenn, we continue the series with a rider whose talent lies embedded in his surname and genes: Moreno Moser.

Having clocked up his first pro win yesterday in the Trofeo Laigueglia, the Liquigas Cannondale rider has jumped into the frame. At 21 years of age, the neo pro has already underlined his promise. But his path to the pro ranks has not been altogether smooth.

Born on Christmas Day 1990, Moreno carries the burden that any child of a famous farther bears; that of expectation. His father Diego was a pro rider for a few years but his uncle Francesco's palmares and legacy surely must be imposing to any youngster picking up a bike and deciding to race it. In Moreno's case, though, his family name doesn't act as a burden, but as an inspiration.

His uncles Enzo and Aldo were also pro riders, as was his older brother Leonardo who rode two years for Acqua & Sapone and three years for Androni Giocattoli. So it's safe to say that Moreno grew up in an environment in which cycling stood central and he knew the tricks of trade at an early age, with journalists coming over and constant talk at the kitchen table, talk about races, contracts, training methods, diets and so forth.

As a junior, it was clear Moreno Moser did inherit his family talent, as he quickly won local races finishing in those typical Italian towns lying on a hill side. Riding for a local team, US Montecorona, he won 18 races as a junior, among which there were important international races such as the Trittico Veneto and the Tour du Pays du Vaud, both races on the UCI Junior calendar.

A bright future lay ahead of him, but his path to professional cycling didn't all go over roses. The step between junior and U23 league is relatively big, especially in Italy where there's a big difference in sporting level between the two leagues. There are distractions a-plenty, as any youngster at the age of 18 experiences. There are friends, girl friends and school, and interests diverge in multiple directions. Moreno hardly touched his bike for nearly 6 months. There were hardly any results in his first U23-year to motivate him and in absence of inspiration, Moreno seriously contemplated calling it quits.

His father and uncles didn't push him and were wise to let their son and nephew take his own decisions. One night though, his father took him aside and laid it out for him, asking him what he wanted to do with his life.

'Be a professional bike rider' Moreno replied. His father made clear that the future was in his own hands, but he wouldn't be successful if he'd continue the way he lived. That conversation sparked Moreno's drive and it was the kick he needed. From that moment on, focus re-entered his life and he decided to work hard to become a successful bike rider.

Under guidance of former pro Bruno Leali, he continued his U23 years at the Tuscan-based Lucchini Maniva Ski and slowly he racked up decent results again. Scouts from professional teams wanted to sign him up after his second year, but Moser decided he wanted to race at the U23 level for one more season. This choice was influenced by a new rule set in place by the Italian Cycling Federation, stating that riders must remain at U23 level for a minimum of three years or they'd be excluded from riding for the Italian national team in the future.

Team Liquigas invited Moser on a team training camp in February last year, showing its interest in the talented rider. After his two stage wins and fifth overall in the Baby Giro, it quickly offered him a stagiaire place and pro contract. Moser continued his successful year by winning the Giro del Medio Brenta (1.2) and the Trofeo Gianfranco Bianchin (1.2).

Now, with momentum picking up in his first year amongst the professional ranks, the months of doubts and procrastination in his first U23 year seem a distant memory. Moser overcame this hurdle by determination and hard word and it defines his character.

Being so young and relatively experienced, it wouldn’t have been surprising for him to have a quiet first few months in the pro ranks. He didn’t wait around, though, having the tactical nose and necessary legs to leap clear in the final three kilometres of yesterday’s race and hold off the chasing group behind. It’s the first win, and the feeling is that many more are on the horizon.

Thus, the family name Moser continues in cycling. But that fact doesn’t only rest on his shoulders; aside from Moreno Moser, Ignazio Moser is also keeping the family connection going. He’s the son of Francesco and appears to have inherited his father's love for cobble stones. It'll be another two years before he is ready to become pro, though; we'll keep you updated!

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