By Gregor Brown in Harelbeke
Enrico Gasparotto, active in the winning move in last week's Milano-Sanremo, is back racing in Belgium. He saved his legs in the E3 Prijs to have better chances in the Brabantse Pijl, a race better suited for his style of riding. And in the back of his mind is Ronde van Vlaanderen.
"Today is a hard race, it is similar to The Tour of Flanders," confirmed Gasparotto to Cyclingnews at the start of E3 Prijs in Harelbeke, Belgium. "I don't know what I will do today because I think that tomorrow's Brabantse Pijl is better suited for me. ... Maybe I will save the legs; it depends how I will feel. Last year, I retired in the feed-zone, and the day after I had a good race."
Gasparotto chose to end the day early for Sunday's Brabantse Pijl. "I have good legs, and I will wait until the end of Brabantse. Also, in [Three Days of] De Panne I will do something similar. Then, in Flanders [Ronde - ed.], I will try stay on Fabian Cancellara's wheel!"
It was Cancellara who got the better of Gasparotto in Tirreno-Adriatico (second by 16 seconds) and then four days later in the Milano-Sanremo, Gasparotto's 26 birthday. Even if he missed his chance of winning in Sanremo he was pleased with his day out.
"Someone told me that I did the right thing to try to attack and someone else told me I should have to wait only for the sprint," he confided. "I re-watched the race on TV, and if I did not attack I think we would have arrived in a group of 70 riders for the final sprint. Overall, I think I had a good Sanremo."
And his birthday? "I went out for dinner with a friend, that was all I could do because I was so tired from the race," he confessed. "I returned to Varese on Saturday night, and then on Sunday [for Easter] I went to my parent's home for two or three days. And now I am here!"
Gasparotto will battle, amongst others, two-time Sanremo winner Oscar Freire (Rabobank) in the Brabantse Pijl.