By Gregor Brown
Enrico Gasparotto will be at the side of Damiano Cunego this year with Team Lampre for the Ardennes Classics. The Italian from Friuli-Venezia Giulia expects to have an educational experience while riding in support of Cunego.
"I want to ride Amstel [Gold], Flèche [Wallonne] and Liège [-Bastogne-Liège], the second part of the Belgian races. I have never done them and I have a desire to race them. I believe that in helping Damiano in these types of races, you learn," Gasparotto said to Cyclingnews.
Damiano Cunego, winner of the 2004 Giro d'Italia, is a winner of several one-day Classics, which includes three editions of the Giro di Lombardia and this year's Amstel Gold.
Team Lampre saw Gasparotto's value this year thanks to a multitude of wins stretching from the Driedaagse De Panne in April to the Giro della Romagna in September. The Italian team signed him from Claudio Corti's Team Barloworld to assist Cunego in the Ardennes Classics. He should also have chances of his own at different races throughout the year.
"I want to ride well at the beginning of the season, at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo. Sanremo has been my dream since becoming professional. It is always near my birthday, if not the day before or day after. It is the most impassioned Italian classic.
"It is not difficult like Liège because it is open to more riders, but the strongest always wins. The first part is easy, it is all flat and the finale decides it this is the beauty of Sanremo."
Gasparotto, who just returned from a short trip to Prague, will meet with the other Lampre teammates next month. The team will hold its first of three camps for 2009 December 9 to 12 in Boario Terme, Italy.