Basso ready to make season debut in Paris-Nice, sets targets for race
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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Basso ready to make season debut in Paris-Nice, sets targets for race

by VeloNation Press at 9:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice
Viviani chasing stage win for Cannondale Pro Cycling

Ivan BassoHaving worked hard in the off season to try to be ready to win his third Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso will make his season debut on Sunday in Paris-Nice. The Italian Cannondale Pro Cycling rider had been due to begin racing last Sunday in the GP Lugano but the Swiss race was cancelled due to snow; this weekend, one week later, he’ll get things underway in the Race to the Sun.

“My ambitions are the same I had at Lugano,” he explained in advance of the French event. “I want to race but I also know the limits of my condition due to the hard training at altitude. I need to find my racing legs first of all. I won’t look at the results but more how I’m feeling.”

Basso would like to perform well but has the bigger picture in mind. “I’m working for the Giro and every race is a good chance to improve my conditioning.”

Winner of the Giro in 2006 and 2010, he tried to take a third title last year but had to be content with fifth overall. He believes he can reach a higher level of form this year and has focussed everything on getting his build-up right.

He will be joined by the sprinter Elia Viviani, plus Mauro Da Dalto, Alessandro De Marchi, Lucas Haedo, Ted King, Paolo Longo Borghini and Daniele Ratto.

Unlike Basso, Viviani has already got a decent block of racing in his legs. He rode both the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman, clocking up top five stage finishes in both. He now believes that he can aim higher. “I’m satisfied with my condition and the base established over the winter. During the first races, as expected, I wasn’t great but now I know I can be competitive,” he said. “A good performance at Paris-Nice is my first goal of the season.”

The race begins with a three kilometre individual time trial, and he believes he can contend there due to his background. “In the short and fast prologue, my abilities as a pistard [track rider] can be counted upon,” he said. “Then there are two chances for a sprint: I don’t want to miss them. In the other stages I’ll be at the disposal of the team. If I’m able, I’ll try to invent something, maybe in a break. I feel like doing something… and doing it well.”

Directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta states that the team wants to both stand out and also to take a stage. He notes that Viviani’s condition is on the up, and sees him as a contender for a victory. “He has to be ready to jump at these opportunities, starting with the prologue,” he said.

As regards the team’s top rider, he’s content to be a little more patient. “Basso needs to race without pressure and concentrate on bettering his form and to end the race by taking a step forward,” he explained. “I expect a gutsy team: with our great team spirit, everyone is able to surprise.”


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