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Gasparotto to Barloworld

A happy maglia rosa

A happy maglia rosa (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The first bearer of the 2007 Giro d'Italia's maglia rosa, Enrico Gasparotto, is leaving the Liquigas ProTour squad in favour of the Pro Continental Team Barloworld for the 2008 season. The 25 year-old from the north-eastern Friuli region of Italy signed agreed a one-year contract with team manager Claudio Corti.

Gasparotto was forced to defend himself after taking the pink jersey in the opening team time trial, when he crossed the line ahead of team leader Danilo Di Luca. He quickly handed over the jersey to Di Luca on the next stage before helping his fellow Italian to the overall win.

An excellent sprinter, Gasparotto took second overall in the Post Denmark Tour. He'll reinforce the sprinting power of the team along with South African Tour stage winner Robbie Hunter and new signing Baden Cooke of Australia.

"Gasparotto can be trusted to get results in the races that suit him and will be vital to the team if our race calendar includes two major stage races," Claudio Corti said.

Gasparotto has been a professional since 2005 and has three professional wins, including the Italian National Championship in 2005. Before becoming a cyclist he was an excellent football player and was part of the AC Milan youth team.

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A swimmer in her younger days, Laura made the change to cycling later in life, but was immediately swept up by a huge passion for the sport. Riding for fitness quickly gave way to the competitive urge, and a decade of racing later she can look back on a number of high profile races and say with confidence, "I started". While her racing days are over for the most part, she continues to dabble in cyclo-cross and competing against fellow pathletes on the greenways of Raleigh, North Carolina.