Basso getting ready for the Giro, expects Sastre to be a big rival
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Basso getting ready for the Giro, expects Sastre to be a big rival

by VeloNation Press at 10:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia

Two of the riders who will fight it out in the Giro d’Italia are currently making their 2010 stage race debuts in the Volta a Catalunya. Ivan Basso (Liquigas) is 36th overall, two minutes and 22 seconds off the race lead, while Carlos Sastre (Cervélo Test Team) is 82nd, 21 minutes 47 back.

Despite the fact that neither is in contention, both of them report that they are feeling well and expect to be in the running for a high overall position in the Giro.

“In terms of mood, I’m one hundred percent, but I still have a little way to go in terms of my condition,” Basso told the Spanish newspaper AS. “I have prepared with the intention of winning the Giro.”

He has ridden several one-day races this year but this is his first stage race. The Italian wants to compete without pressure, just to rediscover the right rhythm and also to enjoy the atmosphere at the race. “I feel wanted here, Spain has always received me very well,” he explained. “The aim here is to enjoy it. The months of winter training seemed very long and I wanted to feel the warmth of the people and have contact with my colleagues.”

Despite Sastre’s anonymous showing, Basso is convinced that the Spaniard is on target for a strong ride in Italy.

“He looks fine, eager and very willing to fight,” he said. “He’ll be on the podium of the Giro for sure. Spanish cycling is experiencing a golden age. It is clear that Alberto Contador is currently the best cyclist in the world and Freire is amongst the fastest.”

Basso was fifth in last year’s Giro, finishing three minutes and 59 seconds behind the winner Denis Menchov (Rabobank). Sastre finished one place above him in the general classification, beating the Italian by 13 seconds. He also won two mountain stages in the race.

Sastre and Basso are set to move to third and fourth overall due to the disqualification of Danilo di Luca, who was originally second.

Basso won the Giro in 2006 but was subsequently banned from the sport due to links with Operacion Puerto. He is widely perceived to have raced clean since his return, and has displayed his anti-doping results and blood levels online.


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