Ivan Basso: "I dedicate this race to one person, Aldo Sassi, who is always in my thoughts."
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ivan Basso: "I dedicate this race to one person, Aldo Sassi, who is always in my thoughts."

by Jered Gruber at 2:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Italian reflects on excellent win in Lugano, ready for more success this spring

For a rider targeting the Tour de France, there's not much better for a rider's confidence than taking a win in February. Ivan Basso is not known as a blazing fast starter in the early season, so his win on Sunday shows even more that this could be a rider capable of going toe to toe with Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador this summer.

Following his excellent triumph at the GP Lugano in Switzerland, Ivan Basso detailed how he got win number one in 2011.

"The team was determined to win this race, and I'm very happy that I could give them, and myself, this gift," said the native of Varese in a team press release.

The Liquigas plan for the day was not a waiting game. Basso notes that it was the intention of the white, blue, and acid green team to take the race by the horns from the very beginning.

"We started off decisively, keeping a fast pace, and trying to thin out the field from the start. First, we broke up the group with a large breakaway, and then Caruso had a go."

Liquigas Director Sportif Alberto Volpi was equally pleased with his team's effort on the day, underlining the squad's to the letter following of the plan worked out ahead of the race.

"They raced with their heads and their legs. Basso provided the finishing touch to the team's excellent work during the race: they put the tactics that we'd decided upon at the start into practice perfectly, making it hard, tiring riders who thought they could win."

When it was time to decide the race, Basso admits that he was ready.

"Towards the end, my legs felt fine, and I tried to get away on the last climb. Duarte followed me and together, we managed to keep our distance over the group."

Basso joined a move started by Cofidis's Rein Taaramae to begin with; Italian Champion Giovanni Visconti and Geox-TMC's Fabio Duarte joined in as well. The five laps of the arduous loop highlighted by a final climb in the waning kilometers of the lap, which really amounts to two climbs in one, was more than enough to provide the springboard that allowed both Basso and Duarte to pull away. Following a testy descent, there was the matter of the finish. In a display of not only great legs, but good thinking as well, Basso managed to overcome a natural weakness, his sprint.

"I decided to anticipate him on the final straight; I succeeded in keeping up the pace and didn't let myself be caught."

Now, with his winter's work in full display, Basso is ready for the racing ahead of him. Despite the fact that his major goal for the season lies in July, the Italian has come out gunning and continues to pursue spring success.

"Since December, I've been planning on racing at a top level in the spring. My fitness is good, I'm starting to feel the benefits of the work in the mountains, and my morale is high: I've got all the ingredients. Now, I need to realize my goals."

Up next for Basso? the Giro del Friuli and then one of his early season highlights, Tirreno-Adriatico. After that, the two-time Giro d'Italia champion will head to Spain for the Volta a Catalunya then the Vuelta al Pais Vasco before heading to Belgium for the Ardennes Triptych of which he'll take part in the final two - La Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Success in either of the two Ardennes races will be a goal for sure, as Basso has previously fared well in both races. He took second in the 2001 Fleche Wallonne as a 24 year old and third at Liege-Bastogne-Liege the year after.

Before heading off toward his next spring goals and a big date in France in July, Basso gives a nod to his recently passed trainer, mentor, and friend, Aldo Sassi.

"I dedicate this race to one person, Aldo Sassi, who is always in my thoughts."
 

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