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91st Giro d'Italia - 2008 Barloworld Team Preview
By Bart Hazen
Date: 5/8/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - 2008 Barloworld Team Preview

Giro d'Italia - Team Barloworld Preview
A preview of the talents of Claudio Corti's men in red for the 2008 Giro. Mauricio Soler winner of the 2007 Tour climbers jersey leads the squad on its quest for the podium and stage wins.

Team Barloworld will line-up for the first time in the Corsa Rosa. Barloworld made it's Grand Tour debut last year in the Tour de France with two stage wins (Soler & Hunter) and the mountains jersey (Soler). The same Mauricio Soler will be the team captain in the Corsa Rosa for the Barloworld team of Claudio Corti.

Mauricio Soler in the polka dot climbers jersey at the tour.
Photo ©

Mauricio Soler
Soler started his pro career with Acqua & Sapone in 2006. In his first year as a pro he immediately won the Circuit de Lorraine. In 2007 he had his best season with the stage win and the mountains jersey in the Tour de France. He attacked in almost every mountain stage and really animated the race. He also won the Vuelta a Burgos and was second in Milano-Torino. In the coming Giro Soler will hunt for stage wins and the final podium in Milano before heading to the Tour de France again.

Enrico Gasparotto
Next to Soler they have also the first 2007 Maglia Rosa wearer Enrico Gasparotto in the team. Gasparotto won with his former team Liquigas the opening team time-trial and crossed the line first. His team captain Danilo di Luca was not particularly pleased with that result at the time. Gasparotto is a sprinter who can climb too, but will have problems getting over the big mountains.

First Maglia Rosa of the 2007 Giro d'Italia Enrico Gasparotto of Liquigas.
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

So far in 2008 he is having his best pro season ever with a stage win in the Driedaagse van de Panne , a 3rd place overall in the Panne and a 2nd place overall in the Tirreno-Adriatico.

Another rider to watch for is Austrian Champion Christian Pfannberger. Pfannberger rode for smaller teams in the past before he joined Barloworld in 2008. He won the Giro del Capo and showed his climbing potential in the Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. In all three the races he finished in the top 10.

Accompanying these three main riders of the team will be Francesco Belotti, Felix Rafael Cardenas, Patrick Calcagni, Stephen Cummings, Carlo Scognamiglio and Geraint Thomas.

Giro d'Italia Barloworld Squad
• Mauricio Soler (Col)
• Francesco Bellotti (Ita)
• Felix Cardenas (Col)
• Christian Pfannberger (Aut)
• Patrick Calcagni (Sui)
• Stephen Cummings (Gbr)
• Carlo Scognamiglio (Ita)
• Geraint Thomas (Gbr)
• Enrico Gasparotto (Ita)

Francesco Bellotti will start in his fourth Giro D’Italia. His best result was a 36th rank in 2005 when he was riding his first year for Credit Agricole in which he made his Giro debut. Before joining Credit Agricole he already rode one year for Barloworld. 2006 was his best pro year. In 2006 he was amongst others second in the Tour de Langkawi. His best result in 2008 was a 5th place in the Giro warm-up the Giro del Trentino. In this race he showed he is ready to support the team captains.

Veteran Felix Rafael Cardenas Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen

The oldest and most experienced rider in the team is Colombian Felix Rafael Cardenas. He turned pro in 2000 and is a very good climber. In 2001 he won a stage in the Tour de France, in 2003 he won the 16th stage and the mountains ranking in the Vuelta, in 2004 he once again won the mountains ranking in the Vuelta and in 2006 he was the best in the GP Industria & Artigianata and the GP Villafranca de Ordizia. In 2007 his best results was a stage win and the second place overall in the Giro del Capo and a second place overall in the Volta ao Alentejo. He also rode the Tour de France. Thus far in 2008 he didn’t showed that much except of a 6th place overall in the Giro del Capo. In the Giro he will have to help Soler and maybe Pfannberger in the mountains.

20008 Pino Cerami - Vittoria Patrick Calcagni! Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Patrick Calcagni is a Swiss rider who rode his first years in Italy first for Vini-Caldirola/Tacconi Sport and later for Liquigas-Bianchi. This is his first year for the Italian/British Barloworld team. In his time for Vini Caldirola and Liquigas he was an excellent helper for the team captains. In 2000 he became Swiss TT Champion and in 2001 he won a stage in the Japan Cup. In 2008 Patrick was the best in the GP Pino Cerami and finished 6th in the Italian version of Paris-Roubaix the Monti Paschi Eroica. He is more an allrounder and can help the team in flat, hilly and mountain stages.

Another Italian in the Giro team is 24 year old Carlo Scognamiglio. He turned pro in 2006 with Team Milram before joining Barloworld in 2008, where he will make his grand tour debut. His best results thus far amongst others a 6th place in the GP Denain (2006), a 4th place in the GP Industria & Commercio di Prato (2007), a 8th place in the GP Plouay and a 11th in the Giro del Lazio (2007). Thus far in 2008 his best results were a 13th place in the Monte Paschi Eroica and 7th place in the GP Pino Cerami. As you can see Scognamiglio is a rider for the middle mountain stages and is capable of a fast finish if it comes to a sprint.

The team will be completed by the two British riders on the team Stephen Cummings and Geraint Thomas. Geraint Thomas made his professional debut with this team in 2007. He immediately started in the Tour de France which he completed in 140th. In 2008 his best result was a 24th place in the Scheldeprijs. Geraint may be most famous as a track cyclist. This year he became world champion team pursuit together with Ed Clancy, Paul Manning and Brad Wiggins. The same team was World Champions in 2007 as well.

Last but not least we will introduce Stephen Cummings. Cummings turned pro in 2005 with Landbouwkrediet. He is also a famous track rider and a National Champion, World Champion and Commonwealth Champion team pursuit. In 2008 he opened his road account by winning the second stage in the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria. He was also second overall in that race. In 2007 he rode for the famous Discovery Channel team and completed the Giro in 110th in his debut grand tour.

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