Gasparotto signs for Dimension Data

Italian joins Valgren in strengthened Classics line-up

Enrico Gasparotto will ride for Dimension Data in 2019. He joins the squad from Bahrain-Merida, where he has spent the past two seasons.

The 36-year-old has carved out a reputation as something of an Amstel Gold Race specialist over the course of his career, winning the race in 2012 and 2016, and placing third in 2010 and once again this season.

Gasparotto will join 2018 Amstel Gold Race winner and fellow new signing Michael Valgren in a much-strengthened Dimension Data Classics squad next season. The former Italian champion has performed consistently in the Ardennes Classics during his career, and took 6th at this year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

"I'm really excited and looking forward to 2019. After 14 years as a professional rider I'm joining a group of completely new people who I have never worked with before. It means that at the beginning it will take a bit of time to get to know each other but that only makes me more enthusiastic," Gasparotto said.

"It's a great possibility to show the real 'Gaspa,' and by that I mean the person as well as the cyclist. Right now, I'm like a kid at the first day of school! New people who for sure will become friends later."

Gasparotto turned professional with Liquigas in 2005, when he was a surprise winner of the Italian national title in Montesilvano Marina. He wore the pink jersey on the 2007 Giro and later rode for Barloworld and Lampe before joining Astana in 2010.

In five seasons at the Kazakhstani squad, Gasparotto established himself in one-day Classics, winning Amstel in 2012 and placing third at Liège-Bastogne-Liège a week later. A two-year spell at Pro Continental level with Wanty-Groupe Gobert followed before Gasparotto returned to the WorldTour with Bahrain-Merida last year.

Gasparotto joins Valgren, Roman Kreuziger, Danilo Wyss, Lars Bak and Rasmus Tiller as the latest new signing for Dimension Data, while Ben King, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg have all agreed contract extensions to stay with the team in 2019.

"I'm absolutely delighted that Enrico's agreed to join our team as he brings a huge amount of experience. Not only in how to win, and consistently compete for victory in races, but also the many years that he's spent in the sport that will be a great asset to the younger riders," said Dimension Data manager Doug Ryder.

"Him joining us, together with our other new signings, will hopefully see our team feature prominently in the Classics and other one-day races while also providing significant back-up for our Grand Tour ambitions."

It is not yet clear whether Mark Cavendish will remain with Dimension Data next season. Last week he was diagnosed with the Epstein Barr virus and advised to take a period of total rest in order to fully recover.

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