Enrico Gasparotto – maglia rosa for two days the 2007 Giro d'Italia – faces some growing up in 2008 as graduates to a team where he will have more responsibility than he was given at Liquigas. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews discovered that the 25-year-old Italian thinks the family-feel of Team Barloworld will give him the faith he needs as he tries to meet his season's goals.
The blonde-haired rider from Italy's northeast region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia burst into the limelight of cycling as a neo-professional when he won the Italian Championships in 2005. As only one of five first year professional to wear his country's famed maglia tricolore the fame could have gone to his head, instead 'Gaspa' kept his cool and played a perfect domestique role for his Liquigas team-mates while selecting his moments to shine.
Though winless in 2007, he gained confidence with a successful spring and his stint in the leader's jersey of the Giro while helping Danilo Di Luca claim the final overall victory. He crossed the line first in the opening team trial stage thanks to the hard work of the entire Team Liquigas and was able to wear leader's jersey. After losing the jersey the following day to team-mate Di Luca, he took it back a final time on stage three.
Gasparotto took a major step at the end of the season – switching teams and making the decision to finally move from his family's home and into his own apartment. Switching teams for the first time since turning professional in 2005, he left the team of Roberto Amadio and the acid-green colours of Liquigas, deciding it was a time for a change. He talked to Claudio Corti, and in November decided to sign a one-year contract for the Professional Continental team registered in Great Britain and backed by a South African sponsor.
Speaking from the team's training camp in Marina di Bibbona (Toscana), he described the new team atmosphere. "Liquigas is a large team with a lot of big-named riders, but Corti has a good group with 20 riders. There are the big-named riders, even without being a ProTour team. We have [Baden] Cooke, [Robert] Hunter and [Mauricio] Soler, and really, we don't lack anything. In fact, it is more of a small family atmosphere."
Read the full interview.