Ivan Basso “I just want to find the ideal conditions for the best Basso possible”
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Ivan Basso “I just want to find the ideal conditions for the best Basso possible”

by Ben Atkins at 1:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Two-time winner speaks on Giro rest day; insists Liquigas-Cannondale tactics will pay off in the long run

ivan bassoIvan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) has declared himself happy with his race so far, as he seeks to join the exalted list of three-time winners. At the end of the second week, the 34-year-old from Gallarate sits in third place overall, 1’22” behind Katusha’s Joaqhim Rodriguez. He is looking forward to the big stages of the Dolomites though, where he hopes to make a difference.

“I’m calm because everything has gone to plan so far and the days to come are in the terrain that I prefer,” he told Liquigas-Cannondale’s rest-day press conference.

“Those who are in front of me are there on merit,” he conceded. “Rodríguez has done nothing wrong so far, he has performed remarkably consistently on all occasions. My goal in these stages was not to lose time, we always managed everything, except for him.”

So far, Maglia Rosa Rodríguez has been the most aggressive of the Giro’s overall favourites, managing to escape his rivals on some of the race’s uphill finishes to date. Basso - along with all of the other favourites - has been unable to compete with the Catalan’s accelerations, but hopes that the longer climbs of the Dolomites will hand the advantage back to himself.

“I couldn’t expect to compete with him, or for stage wins when he was attacking,” he admitted. “I have other characteristics, and I know how to exploit them in the stages to come which are more suited to me.

“When going for the overall in the Giro d’Italia, the most important thing is to not have any bad days,” he explained. “If you are able to maintain a performance like this, it means that you are close to the Maglia Rosa. So far it has been a strange race, tiring and stressful; the stages that await us have more than 5,000 metres of climbing and so the third week of racing - the kilometres that are between us an Milan - will be very, very challenging.

So far, in most of the hillier stages, Liquigas-Cannondale has been the team to take control; riding on the front of the peloton, and wearing down the opposition. The tactic has not alway been successful, particularly when Rodríguez has attacked at the finish of some stages, but Basso insists that this is the right way for his team to go about it.

“We have talked a lot about the way we have ridden, the work of the team, and there has been some criticism,” he said. “Opinions, of course, have to be respected, but what is sometimes ignored is that our strategy is studied and thought out. It may not be paying off immediately, but can be fruitful in the long term.”

While Basso lacks the jump of some of his rivals, but insists that his steadier ‘diesel’ engine will come into its own on the longer climbs to come. His most recent Giro victory - in 2010 - was largely built on his strength over the Mortirolo, which will be tackled on the way to stage 20’s Stelvio finish.

“My type of progress makes the difference when there is a selection, and everyone is hurting, thanks to the valuable work of the team, such as [Sylwester] Szmyd in the finale,” he explained, “especially on the long climbs ahead of us on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I make no promises or claims, but I am sure that this is the only way that I can win and attack my opponents. I have a great respect for Rodríguez and [Garmin-Barracuda's Ryder] Hesjedal, who are ahead of me, but also for those behind me by a few seconds, like [Lampre-ISD's Michele] Scarponi and [Astana's Roman] Kreuziger. If ‘Purito’ [Rodríguez - ed] maintains his performance into these stages, or if someone else attacks and proves stronger, it will be a well deserved win.

“But I don’t think of the others,” he added. “I just want to find the ideal conditions for the best Basso possible in the three stages to come. The performance of my opponents is a variable but I'm not depending on that, I must think to exploit my strengths.

“My team and I want to win this Giro d’Italia, and we will do everything possible to succeed,” Basso concluded. “If it is not to be then it means that someone was stronger and will have won on his own merits, not because we failed. We will have a clear conscience knowing that we have given everything, we want to ride without regrets and with the certainty that nobody will be able to reproach us for anything. We have been working on this goal for months, with preparation and planning, both myself and the entire team, riders and staff included; nobody will be able to tell us that we have didn't try everything.”

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