By Gregor Brown
Enrico Gasparotto has settled in with his new Lampre teammates during its camp in San Vincenzo, Italy. The Italian joined the ProTour team of Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Ballan after a year with Team Barloworld.
"We are mostly all Italian and so the language is Italian. In fact, it is more of a local dialect since most of the guys are from Veneto. Today, we were joking and laughing, the five and half hour ride passed quickly," said Gasparotto to Cyclingnews from the team's training camp on Friday.
Gasparotto, like many Italians, flew South to find more ideal training grounds during the unusually hard winter. He completed a ten-day training camp on the Spanish island of Tenerife prior to joining his Lampre teammates in Tuscany for a meeting that runs from January 20 to 27.
"Like Lance Armstrong? It was not new for me, it is already my third year I have been riding in Tenerife," he said when compared to Team Astana's seven-time Tour de France winner who trained on the Spanish island last month.
Gasparotto had one of his best seasons to date last year with wins in the Driedaagse De Panne in the spring to the Giro della Romagna in the fall. His consistency throughout 2008 earned him the UCI Europe Tour leader's jersey.
He decided with the team to start his season at the GP Etruschi, February 7. Gasparotto will help the team's first-year sprinter Andrea Grendene while he continues to build his form for the races like Milano-Sanremo in March. He will race in the Giro della Grosseto and Trofeo Laigueglia after his season debut.