Place 5 - Enrico Battaglin
Type of rider: high mountains
Biggest success: Giro delle Regioni 2010
Team/Club 2010: Zalf Desireè Fior (Italien)
Team 2011: not known yet
Best Mock List Ranking: new
The name Battaglin is surely familiar to many cycling fans. In 1981, Giovanni Battaglin was only the second rider, after Eddy Merckx, to win both the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro d'Italia within one year. This accomplishment is all the more impressive when one considers that there was only one week between the two races. And it is therefore astonishing that our Enrico is in no way related to Giovanni, even though they were both born and live in Marostica in Veneto. Enrico's father was also a cyclist, but as an amateur who never got near to the big races. Enrico called him his role model, who taught him the love for the sport. He does, however, ride a bike bearing the name of the famous Giovanni.
Like Filippo Pozzato, who lives in the area and is a sometime training partner, Battaglin began his career with team Sandrigosport. From 2005 to 2007 he rode a number of famous Italian junior races. Especially noteworthy were his good placings in the Tre Ciclista Bresciana, where he finished third in 2007 behind super-junior Diego Ulissi and Omar Lombardi. He also finished second overall in Trittico del Veneto in Locatell-Brüder-Sandwich and finally had a stage win in the Giro della Lungiana. There he outsprinted Michal Kwiatkowski. All in all, in his junior years, Battaglin had good races both with sprinting and with climbing.
In 2008 Battaglin changed to Zalf Desiree Fior and became a teammate of such current pros as Daniel Oss, Simone Ponzi and Sacha Modolo. Riders, who were capable of winning every Italian race. In that year the team won 35 of 140 races it entered, and achieved any number of top ten finishes. Ten of these placings went to newcomer Battaglin. His first and only win of the year came late, though. Not until October 7 was he able to win, in the Coppa San Daniele in Friaul. Even if the name of the race makes one think of ham, it is not an easy race to win, because it includes some difficult climbs.
The following year of 2009 brought more podium places for Battaglin. This year he climbed on to the podium 11 times, although as in 2008 he had only one victory. He had a total of 26 top ten finishes. The first notable result came in April at the GP Palio del Recioto (1.2), where he finished eighth. At the third stage of the Giro del Friuli Venezia Giulia (2.2) in May, then finished third in the sprint behind Kristjan Koren and Dominik Nerz, and ended up sixth overall. After a third place in San Vendemiano, he had to wait until July for his one and only season win. The Giro della Valli Aretine (1.2) celebrated its 50th birthday, and Battaglin beat Matija Kvasina and teammate Gianluca Brambila by a few seconds. Also notable in this year of good placings is his second place on the second stage of the Giro della Valli Cuneesi nelle Apli with the steep climb to the finish line in Sampeyre. Behind Canolo and ahead of Modolo. During the race he showed his first high mountain abilities, and finished the race as ninth overall.
Through the loss of Sacha Modolo and Gianluca Brambilla, his congenial partners at many races, to the pro ranks, Enrico Battaglin took on the captain's role at the Zalf in 2010. A role, which he more than knew how to fill this year. Zalf dominated the Italian U23 scene. With 120 race starts, it won more than a third of all the races. The most wins went to Enrico Battagalin seemingly as a matter of course, exactly as had been expected of him.
This time he was able to celebrate his first season victory in March. Battaglin won the sprint of the GP San Giusppe (1.2) on a steep uphill finish. The race also celebrated its 50th brithday. He was also near the front of the difficult GP Palio del Rejioto (1.2U), finishing second behind Slovenian Blaz Furdi. The end of April Battaglin showed at the Giro delle Regioni (2.NC) showed how strong he could be in 2010 and in the future. After a one-year pause, the race returned as part of the Nations Cup shortened to only two stages, with the Italians easily dominating the international field. Battagalin himself won the first stage in a sprint against GP della Liberazione winner Jan Tratnik. On the second stage, Angelo Pagani won in a solo, while Battaglin controlled the field behind hm and finished second to take the overall title.
A few days later Battaglin won two races on one weekend, the Memorial Secondo Marziali and the Monte San Pietrangeli. One was a mass sprint, the other the sprint of a small group which had survived the many short climbs.
Coming off of his best form of the year, Battaglin went into the Baby Giro (2.2) in June. He couldn't do better than a third place in the hilly first stage to Cairo Montenotte. Without being able to match the Colombians in the high mountains and not being able to do much in the remaining eight stages, he finished up 12th overall. Surely a small disappointment, but also an indication that his strengths lie elsewhere. He was able to show these at the Biro delle Valli Cuneesi nelle Alpi. He won the second stage with its difficult closing climb. He showed his abilities in the high mountains with his fifth placed overall and the sixth place on the very difficult mountaintop finish at Colle Fauniera, even though he was not at the very head of things.
His seventh season victgory finally came the middle of August at the difficult one-day race GP Capodarco (1.2). Stefano Locatelli and Julian Arredondo couldn't match Battaglin's punch. In the jersey of the Italian national team, he won another mass sprint at Milano-Rapallo in mid-September.
In Melbourne, Battaglin will be the captain of his national team and fight for the rainvbox jersey along with teammates Stefano Agostino and Sonny Colbrelli. His year has shown that he has no problem with climbs and even if the finish is not uphill, the „Passista“ has also shown his talents in mass sprints. However – and this is the biggest overall question mark behind Enrico Battaglin – he has shown his talents always at Italian races and rarely against the top international competition. That must not mean anything, but can be an enormous disadvantage against the really strong U23 riders.
The 2011 season is still open for Battaglin. Rumours say he will join the young Team Colnago CSF, but that is not definite. Another U23 year for Zalg is also possible. However, it would be difficult to top the successes he has had to date.
nominated by all, written by ocana, translated by tick