The beginning of an Odyssey

Enrico Battaglin (Colnago-CSF)

Enrico Battaglin (Colnago-CSF) (Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)

My name is Enrico Battaglin, I'm 22 years old. As a neo pro with the Colnago-CSF team, I have the privilege of starting my dream race in my first season at the highest level of cycling.

First of all, for everyone to know: I'm not the son of Giovanni Battaglin, who won the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España in 1981. We're not even related. We were both born in Marostica, and I live in the nearby town of Molvena in Veneto, Italy, but Battaglin is a very common name in our area.

I know Giovanni, of course. I've ridden the bikes he produces in the past four years as an amateur rider with Zalf-Fior. To have a household name in cycling helps to get noticed but I actually don't come from a cycling family. My father Gianni has a passion for the sport but he never raced himself.

Even though I've not performed at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo as much I would have liked, I've had a decent early part of my season, finishing twice third [at the GP Lugano and stage 2 of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali], and I've just returned from the Presidential Tour of Turkey, where I finished eighth last week. That’s where I geared up for the Giro d'Italia and showed that my form was good. I was close to a solo win of a stage that was eventually won by my teammate Sacha Modolo in a bunch sprint. That boosted my confidence before heading to Denmark for the start of the Giro.

I'm not nervous. There's no pressure. My first goal is to finish the Giro. The length of the race - three weeks - is a test of my endurance. The maximum number of consecutive days I've raced is nine. In Turkey, we did eight. I'm not expecting to deliver any particular personal result here in Denmark for the first three days. Albeit flat, these initial stages are demanding, more because of the weather conditions than the profile of the course. In Italy, we'll have harder stages. I'm a rouleur/climber. I defend myself better on mixed courses and uphill finishes.

I was hoping to ride the Giro. It's the nicest race in the world. Here I am now. I'm happy to be sharing my feelings with you during these next three weeks of passionate racing.

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Enrico Battaglin, 22, is a neo-pro with the Colnago-CSF team. Excited to line up for his first-ever Giro d'Italia and the longest race of his career thus far, Battaglin will test himself over the next three weeks. He'll share his experiences of the 2012 Giro d'Italia with Cyclingnews readers in this blog.