Basso pledges to try to win yellow or pink jersey before the end of his career
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Basso pledges to try to win yellow or pink jersey before the end of his career

by VeloNation Press at 7:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Rider says he was beaten by better riders in the Giro, accepts the result

Ivan BassoIssuing an open letter to his fans, Ivan Basso has said that he has accepted his inability to win this year’s Giro d’Italia, but says he still has bullets to fire in his career and is determined to try to take a Grand Tour victory before he finally hangs up his wheels.

The 34 year old Italian went into the Giro after a very quiet spring, but was adamant that he would be in top condition when it was needed and would fight for the Maglia Rosa. His Liquigas Cannondale team took command of the race at several key points, but his expected push forward in the final week failed to materialise. He ultimately finished fifth overall, three minutes 44 seconds behind Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Barracuda). He was two minutes and five seconds off a podium finish.

Addressing his fans, Basso states that he spent seven days quietly reflecting on the race, turning things over in his mind and coming to a conclusion about what had taken place.

“I lost,” he wrote. “I'm not going to hide and even going to find excuses to justify the fact that I returned home without the pink jersey that I hoped (and at times I thought) would be mine. I lost it because others were better than me, and the sport has taught me that accepting defeat is the prerogative of the great champions. I shake hands with those who preceded me in the standings and defeated me and I congratulate them, just as others have complimented me when I was the one to win.”

Basso noted that much work goes into preparing for a Grand Tour, with months of preparation taking place before the rider begins the race itself. “Then we play it out over three weeks full of risks, uncertainties, delicate balances. Many dream of winning, a few fight until the end, only one succeeds. This is the rule of the sport I love, this is the rule of cycling. In these days of silence I have looked back. I thought about every single workout, every moment of preparation that led me to the start of the Giro, about every detail.”

His conclusion was that he accepted the result, and knew he couldn’t do anything different. Because of that, Basso said that he had a clear conscience and had nothing to fault himself on. He also recognised that it was a major challenge to try to win three editions of the race, and that the last time it was done was back in 1985, when Bernard Hinault completed the treble. He also noted that the last rider to win a third at his age was Fiorenzo Magni, the Italian winner of the 1955 edition.

Looking forward, he said that he drew strength from the support he has got. “My fans know and appreciate me, my companions have agreed to work for me and follow my advice, I know I have made the right choices, and these three things are enough for me to keep walking and cycling with my head held high.” And while the 2006 and 2010 Giro winner states that his fans have a right to be disappointed and his team-mates to be angry, he said that he’d do what he could to take another win for the former and to personally ride for the latter to help them meet their own targets. “I’ll make myself available to repay them for all they have done for me,” he promised.

“Next year I'll try again because I realized that I missed out on a historic achievement by very little: a pinch of condition in the last three days of a race that had been conducted in a perfect manner…

“I'll come back pedalling. Because I know that is not yet the time of my sporting funeral and because I really want to respond on the road to those who think my time has come. I'll be back pedalling because I know that Ivan Basso has yet to fire bullets, has things to say, has races to win. And I know that is not yet time to stop dreaming: a new jersey - pink or yellow - to be dedicated to all those who were always there and always will be.”


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