Basso looks ahead to Tirreno and Contador duel
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Monday, February 28, 2011

Basso looks ahead to Tirreno and Contador duel

by Samuel Morrison at 4:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta a Catalunya
GP Lugano winner Ivan Basso, a 'bull in a bullfight'

Italian Ivan Basso wants to carry the winning momentum through this spring to Tirreno-Adriatico and to face Alberto Contador. He proved that he's ready for the challenge yesterday with a win at the GP Lugano in Switzerland.

His next goals are in three stage races: Tirreno-Adriatico, March 9 to 15, Volta a Catalunya, March 21 to 27, and País Vasco, April 4 to 9.

"Tirreno-Adriatico is what I like best, even if it is a very particular race with two consecutive stages of about 240 kilometres each. It'll make a difference," Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport today. "But in Catalonia, there is the uphill finish in Andorra. And País Vasco is always very hard."

The 33-year-old of team Liquigas-Cannondale won the Giro for a second time last year. He will likely skip it this year to focus on winning the Tour de France in July. He twice finished on the podium of the Tour de France, 2004 and 2005, behind Lance Armstrong. Last year, he suffered from racing the Giro d'Italia and was knocked out by both a fever and eventual winner, Spain's Alberto Contador.

Contador and Basso will face off in Catalonia for the first time since the Tour de France.

"I cannot wait. I'm glad that Alberto will also be there. He's a cyclist who I respect very much. At the 2010 Tour, he knocked me out in the first round. I'm ready to rebound. Of course Contador is Contador and when he attacks it hurts, but this time, I won't start a beaten man," added Basso.

"Last year, I went to the Tour in France tired from the Giro d'Italia. This time, I have the head, the legs and the heart. We'll see who is the strongest. It is not enough to be half-ready, it will be a full-on affair in Andorra. I'll have the same fight as a bull in a bullfight. Yes, it will be the first real and anticipated challenge between us."

Basso will continue through the end of April, racing one-day classics Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. His team-mate, Vincenzo Nibali will lead the Liquigas-Cannondale team at the Giro d'Italia and Basso...

"A rest before betting everything on the Tour. It's a good year."


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