Was he that much better beforehand?
We talking about a guy who struck fear in the heart of Pogacar in Lombardia on 9th October 2021 when no other rider in the wolrd could follow him. Not roglix, or world champion alaphilipee, Yates, remco etc.
He accidentally did a top 10 in the Giro of 2020 whilst working as a gregairo.
He was very exciting rider in Androni days, always attacking, he won Giro stages, lots of stages and won some stage races. Watch some highlights of Trentino 2019 and how he toy with Nibali and Geogeghen Hart.
Also 3rd in Romandie in 2021 ahead of a lot of strong guys. He is just not that same quality rider since his illness
He had also Less opportunity, doing 3 years at androni after struggle to get a pro contract. Then he went in quickstep and had to ride for others in 2020 but still got good results. In 2021 he was strong in spring, got a tendinitis in the Giro and abandoned. He came 2nd at Italy nationals on 2 week training behind flying Colbrelli, then fractures his vertebrae in July before he was supposed to do Vuelta. Came back and got 2nd in Lombardia.
But then after Oman 2022 his mononuclosis resurface and he is mostly anonymous since. I look for him in all races he does and it always stress me slightly.