The Liquigas team – and Di Luca and Gasparotto – has certainly left its mark in the first stages of the Giro d’Italia.

The “Green Machine” took first place in last Saturday’s team time trial that opened the 90th edition of the pink race. The first to cross the finish line in La Maddalena was the ex-Italian National Champion Enrico Gasparotto who took an unexpected pink jersey.

Gasparotto
The “Green Machine” celebrate.

Captain Di Luca — who’s enjoying superb form at the moment, as proved by his recent win in Liège — however, hasn’t waited long before stating his Giro ambitions.

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Di Luca takes the lead after stage 2.

After just twenty four hours, he was the new pink jersey at the end of stage 2 (Tempio Pausania — Bosa) which was won by veteran Robbie McEwen.

Yesterday’s stage three saw Gasparotto reclaim the maglia rosa, as the sum of stage placings determines the leader when both riders are on the same time.

The general ranking — including after Di Luca five Liquigas men (in the following order Gasparotto, Noè, Pellizotti, Nibali and Wegelius) — confirms the excellent time the team is going through.

Gasparotto
Gasparotto hammered into the last few corners of the TTT, putting 10 lengths into Di Luca – a gap which, even though Enrico was cruising to the line, Danilo couldn’t close.

After the first three stages of the Giro, the Liquigas win tally for the year is now at 15.

“The results we’ve obtained come from a very good teamwork,”

– comments team manager Stefano Zanatta.

“Winning a team time trial means having a great synchronism and harmony, as we have been proving for a long time.”

Without hiding his ambitions, Danilo Di Luca declared himself “surprised at such a pink jersey. It comes almost unforeseen. Yesterday the team plans were to favour Pellizotti, but the crash that occurred with a few hundred meters to the finish line in Bosa involved Pellizotti and Nibali, which upset our plan. So I found myself in the front with the lead riders. Now I will do my best to honour the maglia rosa.”

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Gasparotto – in pink but working for Di Luca.

For his part Enrico Gasparotto – the best young rider in the race — is very satisfied:

“Such a debut in the first stage of my first Giro d’Italia was absolutely unexpected: wearing at once the pink jersey then the white one is a unique emotion. Now, even more motivated than before, I am at my captain’s entire disposal.”

Good to have that cleared up then.