Inside Team Liquigas at the Tour of California
Stage one and two notes from the team and team profile.
By Alicia Hopkins
All week I will be following the Tour of California with Liquigas and
reporting on the race through the team’s perspective.
Luca Paolini receives his flowers after stage 2 .Photo c. Brian
Before the start of Stage 2, I had a chance to chat with the team. I asked
Charly Wegelius about Stage 1, and the crash that took place on the first lap of
the finishing circuit in Santa Rosa. “No one really knows why the crash
happened, as it had nothing to do with the layout of the circuit. Going into the
finish of a circuit is always dangerous with the sprinters grappling for
positions. No one on the team was injured.” Mauro Da Dalto finished fifteenth on
the day, and he informed me that he was behind the crash. along with most of the
Gasparotto finishing 1 minute behind the leaders in Stage 1.
Photo c. Mark Adkison
For Stage 2, the team planned on staying in the bunch and out of trouble, as
the last 70 kilometers of the stage, on paper is flat, and would not be suitable
to expend a great deal of energy in a break that was sure to fail.
I had the opportunity to ride in the second team car during stage 2. We
followed the race with race radio and the soigneurs and I discussed who could
possibly win today’s stage; the names mentioned were Graeme Brown, Allan Davis,
J.J. Haedo, and Luca Paolini. During most of the stage, the soigneurs and I gave
each other language lessons, and how the team is enjoying it’s first race in the
Luca Paolini on Stage 2 head to head with Thor and J.J. Haedo for 2nd.
Photo c. Mark Adkison
I asked Charly about today’s stage at the finish, “The circuit was better
today, but the bunch was having problems in the wind, so it was good that
Discovery decided to go to front, and set the pace. I tried to get Gaparatto to
the front to help Paolini, who had a few problems on the run-in, hopefully we
will get it right tomorrow.” With 200m to go, Paolini was slowed slightly by a
touch of wheels with another rider, which allowed Haedo to go on for the win,
and Paolini to finish second.
Stage 3 looks promising for the team to try to do something.
Stage 2 podium presentation. Photo courtesy of Brian Dallas
Liquigas Tour of California Team Profile:
makes it's North American racing debut at the 2007 Tour of California with a
squad that includes sprinter Luca Paolini and all-rounder Franco Pelizotti.
The roster for the 2007 Tour of California includes the following riders:
Kjell Calström, Mauro Da
Dalto, Enrico Gasparotto, Manuel Quinziato, Luca Paolini, Franco Pelizotti,
Charles Wegelius, and Frederik Willems.
Luca Paolini became a
professional in 2000, since turning pro he has 14 victories to his credit
which includes stage wins at the Tour of Normandy, the Tour of Britain, and the
Vuelta a España.
Franco Pelizotti began his professional career in 2001, and has stage wins at
the Giro d'Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Vuelta Ciclista al Paìs Vasco, and the
Tour of Poland.
Enrico Gasparotto, a good sprinter, won the Italian road-race champion back
in 2005, the same year he became a professional; Gasparotto has all the tools to
develop into a fine one-day rider as well, and he has already showed his talents
with a victory in Memorial Cimurri last September, and good number of other top
ten performances: 3rd in Coppa Sabatini, 6th Grote Scheldeprijs, 5th in Coppa
Bernocchi (In 2005) and 10th in Paris-Tours in 2005.
Mauro Da Dalto is a solid all-rounder, who became a professional in 2006; as
an amateur, Da Dalto, was always a consistent performer, whose main strengths
are against the clock, additionally, he can also defend himself decently when
the roads goes uphill.
Frederik Willems had his break through season last year with 4 victories; a
stage and the overall in Etoile Des Besseges, and a stage in Tour of Britain. He
was part of the incredibly successful Mapei-development team back in 2000, and
recorded his first every pro win in 2002 during stage 7 at the Vuelta a Cuba.
Willems is best on rolling terrain, with small hilly climbs.
Manuel Quinziato became a professional rider in 2002, and in 2006 earned a
stage win at the Eneco Tour - Benelux, he is a strong time-trialist, and will be
a factor in the spring Classics this season.
Kjell Calström became a professional in 2002 and won a stage at the Tour of
Queensland, and was second in Stage 8 at the 2006 Tour De France. Calström will
mostly likely help Pelizotti with any GC contentions along with Charles Wegelius,
who became a professional in 1999. Wegelius is a good climber who will play a
valuable role in not only the Tour of California but later in the season at the
Liquigas Pro Cycling Team
Founded in 2005
Bike - Cannondale
Group - Campagnolo
Tires - Vittoria
Primary Sponsor (Business Type)- Distributors of GPL petroleum gas