TechPowered By

More tech

Enrico Battaglin's Giro d'Italia Blog

Cyclingnews blogger Enrico Battaglin (Colnago - CSF)

Enrico Battaglin Blog: First Giro d'Italia completed!

By:
Enrico Battaglin
Published:
May 27, 2012, 22:06 BST,
Updated:
May 27, 2012, 23:08 BST

The end of the road in Milan

Hello from Milan. This is the end of the road.

Firstly, I have reached my goal to finish the Giro d'Italia. I've completed it! But the past two days prior to today's time trial have been extremely hard. I wanted to do well in stage 19 to l'Alpe di Pampeago because a group of friends came to support me. I managed to stay with the favorites on the Passo Menghen. On the first ascent to l'Alpe di Pampeago, I gritted my teeth, but in the last kilometer, I couldn't follow the rhythm of the best climbers anymore. Not many of them were left when I dropped off. Liquigas rode really strongly over there.

As a team, we at Colnago-CSF have worked in a similar way for Domenico Pozzovivo en route to the Passo dello Stelvio, the mythical climb we had at the end of the Giro d'Italia. We've been seen quite a lot on TV. We thought our captain could do well up there, but he went into a bit of a crisis. However, we're satisfied with what we got during those three weeks of racing: one stage win and one man in the top 10 [eighth], even though at some point into the race, we had hoped for a bit of a higher overall ranking.

We've developed a good image of our team made of young Italian riders. Personally, I wanted to get a bit more in terms of results. As a first timer, I have to be satisfied with my experience at the Giro. At the half way point, our team manager Bruno Reverberi saw me a bit tired after a stage and he suggested that I should not finish the Giro, but I wanted to finish. I knew that it was just a normal state of fatigue because I wasn't used to riding for three weeks in a row. The maximum I had done as an amateur was nine days of racing.

Yesterday, stage 20 to the Passo dello Stelvio seemed like a never ending affair. After I'd done my job for Pozzovivo, I waited for the group of the sprinters and I cruised with them with no problem. In the evenings of the mountain stages, all I knew of the fight between the favorites at the front came from the instructions I heard on the radio when [directeur sportif] Roberto [Reverberi] was giving information to Pozzovivo and [Gianluca] Brambilla [who finished 13th overall]. Later at night, I would look at the images on TV.

I loved the course of stage 19 to l'Alpe di Pampeago. The landscapes were really nice. Probably because we passed that climb twice, there were more tifosi on the roadside. On the Stelvio, most of the fans were cyclists because it was the only way for them to go up. Such a crowd is something that I never experienced as an amateur rider.

As my objective was always to reach Milan, I'm happy that I've done it. With a bit more luck and better legs sometimes, I could have entered a breakaway but most importantly, as a neo pro, this experience will help me for the future. As soon as this coming Saturday, I'll race again at the Melinda Trophy. I also have the Tour of Slovenia and the Italian championship on my agenda in June.

After that, it'll be time to take some rest and gear up for the series of one-day races we have in Italy in August. I want to do well there.

Thanks for supporting me and reading me during the Giro d'Italia. It's been nice to share my experience.

Ciao.

Enrico Battaglin is well on the way to living up to the family name

Battaglin: Rain and rest in the Tyrol mountains

By:
Enrico Battaglin
Published:
May 23, 2012, 10:49 BST,
Updated:
May 23, 2012, 12:02 BST

Colnago rider recharges his batteries ahead of final push

Gutenabend. I say good evening in German because I’m staying in a typical Tyrolean hotel in Kiens in the region of Trentino. Every name here is translated in two languages: Italian and German. Kiens is Chienes in Italian. That’s the beauty of doing the Tour of Italy: we go through the specifics of the different regions of our country. In my previous blog, I was writing from the Riviera on the Mediterranean, which is like another world compared to here in the mountains near the Austrian border.

We’ve had two hard stages since. I feel a bit disappointed because I’ve tried to go in the breakaways twice in a row and it didn’t work out. We haven’t had very favourable weather conditions, to say the least. From Savona on Saturday, we started on dry roads and finished under the rain in the Valle d’Aosta. On Sunday, we’ve experienced six hours of racing under the continuous pouring rain. I’ve done my part in helping my team-mates with delivering rain jackets and bottles, then I’ve finished the stages at my own rhythm in the mountains.

Our team captain Domenico Pozzovivo hasn’t been super with the rainy conditions. He’s scared in wet downhills. Cold and rain have affected his performances. He has lost two minutes because of a bit of a hungerflat but he managed to limit the losses and he’s still in contention. Matteo Rabottini has done something great for winning at Piani dei Resinelli. It was extremely hard to come up to a stage starting from so far out, as he broke away only eighteen kilometers after the start. In the evening, I’ve realized as I watched TV that he even crashed! He already tried his luck on the way to Rocca di Cambio in the first week of racing. I’ve learned through those years that a cyclist has to be persistent for winning one day. That’s what Rabottini has done. Hats off to him.

Today in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Pier Bergonzi wrote that the four invited teams (ours: Colnago CSF Inox, Rabottini’s Farnese Vini-Selle Italia, Androni Giocattoli and NetApp) ride the Giro d’Italia with more hunger and desire to do well than some of the richer Pro Teams who are automatically entered because of their World Tour status. For sure, every day, we want to animate the race. We’re keen to demonstrate that we deserve our wild-card. We see that riders like Fränk Schleck who pulled out don’t have the same motivation as we have but their racing calendar is richer than ours. For us, the Giro d’Italia is the most important race of the season, so we do our best.

One of our riders, Stefano Locatelli, has been forced to abandon as well. It’s always sad to see a team-mate leaving. We stayed at a nice hotel in Riva del Garda near the lake. It’s been a real relaxing day. I only rode on rollers, for 45 minutes, and I used the facilities like the sauna and the Turkish bath. It was raining all day, so I stayed inside. Today in the bunch, I was curious to know what the other teams had done during the rest day, but I understood from various chats that about everyone did rollers or even nothing. I could feel the legs a bit stiff today, but yet, I wanted to break away and I’ve tried, as I was named by our sport director Roberto Reverberi to try and go. I did. I took part in a 12-man breakaway in the first kilometers of racing. Unfortunately, Astana brought us back. I heard they justified it by the teams’ classification but then, they should have gone after every breakaway and they even lost the lead to Movistar. I have a true regret that my move didn’t work out. It looked like a successful one but when we got reined in, a counter-attack went and it was game over for me.

I want to try again. The Giro is not over. Roberto said that I’ve done twice the work he expected me to do. It’s nice to hear. Physically, I feel good but my heart says that I should do more because I haven’t delivered the kind of result I was hoping for. I also believe that there is more to be seen from Pozzovivo in the big mountains. We want something more to celebrate.

Bye for now, we’ll draw the conclusions of my first Giro d’Italia in Milan.

Enrico
 

Enrico Battaglin (Colnago-CSF)

Battaglin: We're hoping for more with Pozzovivo

By:
Enrico Battaglin
Published:
May 19, 2012, 13:50 BST,
Updated:
May 19, 2012, 15:00 BST

Looking after a Giro d'Italia contender

Hello from the start line of stage 13. We’re in Savona on the sea side. The atmosphere is very relaxed but we know that we have harder days to come in terms of racing and weather conditions.

During this second week of the Giro d’Italia, we’ve had great joy in “casa Colnago” with Domenico Pozzovivo’s victory at Lago Laceno. Not only has he done a great job but he also positioned himself as a possible contender for the overall classification in Milan. It has solidified the commitment of the whole team around him. We knew after his win at the Giro del Trentino that he was on good form but now it has become even more certain that he can stay really high on GC till the end.

We didn’t party so much after his stage win, or at any point during the race, apart from a nice tart on May 17, for the 22nd birthday of Sonny Colbrelli, who is the youngest Italian rider at the Giro. We need to rest and remain focused as long as we are in the race. But should we get some more satisfaction by the end on Sunday week, we might organize a real party after the Giro.

Pozzovivo is a shy guy but within our circle, he talks. He’s precious in the team for his great knowledge of weather forecast. Every hour, he reads the clouds and goes on the internet to study the images from the satellites, so he has a clear picture of what we’ll get in the following hours. At team meetings, he says it all. We are prepared for bad weather this week-end in the Valle d’Aosta.

Pozzovivo is unique as a rider. Unlike Ivan Basso, he prefers to stay at the back of the bunch to avoid crashes. He also wants to be the very last rider to start every stage, that’s kind of a superstition, but even en route, he’s often at the back of the peloton. That’s where we have to stay close to him. It’s complicated sometimes in case of echelons but it’s a pleasure to deal with that as it’s exciting to escort a potential winner. For my first Giro as a rookie, it gives me a precise job at his service. It’s up to Gianluca Brambilla to stay with him as long as he can in the climbs. I’m often next to him before the climbs.

I crashed at the beginning of stage 12 but the only damage has been caused to my right shoe. I I tried to catch the breakaway afterwards but I missed the right one. It’s not our priority anyway, since we have a big job to do for Pozzovivo. We’ll help him as much as we can. For the overall classification, the Giro is yet to begin. It’s still very tight on GC. After the rest day on Monday, it’ll be extremely intense until Saturday.

Let’s hope for the best with Pozzovivo. Please support him, he’s short but he’s great!

Enrico
 

Enrico Battaglin gets ready for another stage of the Giro d'Italia

Pastry chefs, fatigue and heading into the mountains

By:
Enrico Battaglin
Published:
May 13, 2012, 7:04 BST,
Updated:
May 13, 2012, 12:02 BST

Italian rookie speaks about missed occasions

After a full week of racing, I get to feel the difference between a normal bike race and the Giro d'Italia. Tiredness is there but I'm getting accustomed to it. The welcome of the people is heart warming. Everywhere, we feel special as riders of the Giro. It's another world. During stage 5 to Fano, I noticed a general slowdown in the bunch. I thought it might have been caused by a crash but it wasn't. A pastry chef had prepared some cakes for us. Many riders stopped for a tasting session. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the road and I missed this extra feed zone! It was a nice touch by the tifosi though.

It looks like I've missed a few opportunities these past few days. In the team time trial, I contributed to the team work for 25 kilometres, then I got dropped but the most important thing for us was to limit the damage for our GC rider Domenico Pozzovivo compared to Liquigas and Lampre. We didn't lose much - 1:12. Indeed, nobody lost much. We all believed that the team time trial would have had more of an impact on the overall classification. After one week, the hierarchy is yet to be discovered.

We had a very hard stage 6, with 3600 metres of difference in altitude. It's a pity that I missed the break that day because I was supposed to be up there. I made a mistake. Many teams were represented at the front. We never came across and Adriano Malori took the pink jersey. I didn't know the previous race leader, Ramunas Navardauskas, but I'm familiar with Malori. He's was born in 1988, so he's only one year older than me and I've raced against him many times in the amateur ranks. He's a strong rider and he was smart to catch the right breakaway.

In stage 7, I finished disappointed again. Four riders went away and Lampre-ISD rode behind. I didn't know the final climb to Rocca di Cambio, but I felt that I had good legs. However, with 2km to go, it was a totally opposite feeling. I suddenly suffered a lot. It's a shame because when I saw the uphill finale, I realized that it was a good one for me. I could have tried something. Now I have to try again. These days, I realize the difference between the amateur and pro ranks. At the Giro, I can't read the cards as much as I was used to. But in reality, no one has exposed himself and no one has lost the Giro yet.

We're in the regional park Sirente Velino in the Abruzzo. It's Saturday night and I keep chatting after the dinner with my teammates from Colnago-CSF. We like to hang around together. We're all Italians, we all have more or less the same age, we're young and enthusiastic about riding the Giro. We do our best to show ourselves during the race. We haven't won a stage yet but we've ridden decently so far in the finales. We'll try again!

Ciao, good night,
Enrico

Enrico Battaglin (Colnago-CSF)

An unforgettable start in Denmark

By:
Enrico Battaglin
Published:
May 09, 2012, 11:30 BST,
Updated:
May 09, 2012, 12:55 BST

Colnago-CSF neo pro experienced fear and enthusiasm

Ciao a tutti. I’m back in Italy but I can’t forget this trip to Denmark for my first start at the Giro d’Italia. When I was on the start ramp for the opening time trial in Herning, I thought: “well… I’ve seen this race on TV for many years, now here I am!” But once in action, it’s just another bike race, except that this one is so much more important than the others. I got a decent time at the end of the 8.7km course. I’ve came in 1:01 down on Taylor Phinney but that was of no importance seeing as I’m not here to play my own card on GC. It was a great ride even though it was windy. I was amazed by the number of spectators on the roadsides, and it was the same for the second and third stages. I really didn’t know that cycling was so popular in Scandinavia.

I’m a beginner but I realized that everyone was scared at the start of stage 2 because a strong wind was expected. After 60km of racing, we had the sea on the right and on the left hand sides of the road! The conditions were there for echelons but fortunately for the teams who ride for the GC, as we are doing with [Domenico] Pozzovivo, there was no wind in the end, so there was no possibility of action for those who wanted to do some damage. It was dead flat as well. Our sprinter Sacha Modolo didn’t manage to be part of the first sprint and he crashed in the second one. I’m not part of his lead out, so I gave a hand to Pozzovivo to try and keep him out of danger in the finale of those flat stages. I could feel some fear in the peloton but it’s been quiet because of the absence of the wind.

The real fright came with the crash in Horsens. I’ve seen it from behind because I was in the first fifty positions of the bunch, but only when I saw the images on TV did I understand what happened with Roberto Ferrari. I’m not judging but it was a big crash. Fortunately, no one was hurt too much.

It was a special day, too, because on the start line we had two or three minutes of silence to pay tribute to Wouter Weylandt. I wasn’t at the race one year ago, obviously. I was at home and I remember watching the tragedy on TV. Anyone racing on a bike knows that risks are part of the job. Even wearing a helmet, we’re exposed to accidents but we always hope that everything will go well.

After stage 3, we all went to the swimming pool in Horsens, which is where the organization had organized showers for us before heading by bus to Billund’s airport. Our transfer back to Italy went according to plan. At 10pm, we were at the dinner table in our hotel near Verona, ready to recce the course of the team time trial in which we’ll try to limit our losses.

This trip to Denmark has been a positive one in my mind. I can’t compare as everything is new for me, but it’s been great. Logistically speaking, everything was easy and comfortable in Denmark. Our journey becomes more complicated in Italy, but it’s also where I want to show myself as a rider. When time gaps will be bigger on GC, there’ll be more possibilities for attacks to succeed. [Italian national champion Giovanni] Visconti has pointed out the stages that are good for him, starting this Friday. I probably like the same stages but first I have to evaluate my physical capacities. I can already feel in my body the efforts of three days of racing. My condition will determine what I can really do in my first Giro d’Italia.

Bye for now, enjoy the show.

Enrico
 

Enrico Battaglin (Colnago-CSF)

The beginning of an Odyssey

By:
Enrico Battaglin
Published:
May 05, 2012, 17:35 BST,
Updated:
May 05, 2012, 18:37 BST

Colnago-CSF starts his first Giro d'Italia

My name is Enrico Battaglin, I'm 22 years old. As a neo pro with the Colnago-CSF team, I have the privilege of starting my dream race in my first season at the highest level of cycling.

First of all, for everyone to know: I'm not the son of Giovanni Battaglin, who won the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España in 1981. We're not even related. We were both born in Marostica, and I live in the nearby town of Molvena in Veneto, Italy, but Battaglin is a very common name in our area.

I know Giovanni, of course. I've ridden the bikes he produces in the past four years as an amateur rider with Zalf-Fior. To have a household name in cycling helps to get noticed but I actually don't come from a cycling family. My father Gianni has a passion for the sport but he never raced himself.

Even though I've not performed at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo as much I would have liked, I've had a decent early part of my season, finishing twice third [at the GP Lugano and stage 2 of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali], and I've just returned from the Presidential Tour of Turkey, where I finished eighth last week. That’s where I geared up for the Giro d'Italia and showed that my form was good. I was close to a solo win of a stage that was eventually won by my teammate Sacha Modolo in a bunch sprint. That boosted my confidence before heading to Denmark for the start of the Giro.

I'm not nervous. There's no pressure. My first goal is to finish the Giro. The length of the race - three weeks - is a test of my endurance. The maximum number of consecutive days I've raced is nine. In Turkey, we did eight. I'm not expecting to deliver any particular personal result here in Denmark for the first three days. Albeit flat, these initial stages are demanding, more because of the weather conditions than the profile of the course. In Italy, we'll have harder stages. I'm a rouleur/climber. I defend myself better on mixed courses and uphill finishes.

I was hoping to ride the Giro. It's the nicest race in the world. Here I am now. I'm happy to be sharing my feelings with you during these next three weeks of passionate racing.

Author
Enrico Battaglin's Giro d'Italia Blog

Enrico Battaglin, 22, is a neo-pro with the Colnago-CSF team. Excited to line up for his first-ever Giro d'Italia and the longest race of his career thus far, Battaglin will test himself over the next three weeks. He'll share his experiences of the 2012 Giro d'Italia with Cyclingnews readers in this blog.