The decisive move on the Cauberg, the finish-line salute and the dedication to his team-mate Antoine Demotié are memories that lit up the spring for Italian cycling fans. After Enrico Gasparotto’s second Amstel Gold Race win last month, the 34-year-old from the town of Sacile in the province of Pordenone has been training hard, and at the weekend he will join the Giro d’Italia as a spectator of stage 13, Palmanova to Cividale del Friuli, 170 km of effort with four categorised climbs. Two days later, he will take the start in the amateur Gran Fondo over the same roads as the Corsa Rosa.
You know the climbs very well: How likely are we to see attacks by the big GC riders on the four categorised climbs between Palmanova and Cividale?
“Firstly, I hope that the weather is good so that the cycling fans of Friuli will see a wonderful spectacle, and so that the riders can race freely. The Cividale stage comes on the eve of a massive mountain stage through the Dolomites, so the big GC contenders will want to hold something back. But if one or other of them wants to take his rivals’ pulse that day, there is plenty of scope for a surprise attack.”
What advice would you give the many amateur riders who will start the Gran Fondo on Sunday?
“My only advice is have a great time, don’t leave me too far behind and help me make it to the finish. I hope that Sunday is fantastic day of sport for everyone: I’ll be there, and I’ll be in it for the long haul, not just for public relations but to prepare for my upcoming races. There are fantastic landscapes to enjoy and on Saturday morning I’ll also be taking part in Ciclogusto, a ride with plenty of stops to taste the characteristic dishes and wines from my region.
Between training rides, are you also following the Giro? Which stage have you most enjoyed in the first week of racing?
«As a good Italian, I am always a passionate Giro follower. I couldn’t choose one stage above the rest because I think every single one has had its fascination. It is a very open Giro, with no dominant rider, and that makes it even more compelling.
How is your season going after the Amstel win?
«After a win like that, your moral is sky high. I trained at altitude in Livigno for a while, until bad weather forced me to return home to Lugano, before the trip to Friuli. I’m riding the Tour of Belgium at the end of the month (25-29 May) and then I’ll be at the Dauphiné from 5 to12 June, where I’ll be hunting stage wins.