Basso feeling confident heading into Vuelta al Pais Vasco
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Friday, April 01, 2011

Basso feeling confident heading into Vuelta al Pais Vasco

by Conal Andrews at 4:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Liquigas-Cannondale increasingly ambitious

Ivan BassoMost of the current attention is on the Tour of Flanders, but the sport’s Grand Tour specialists are also racing hard in the days ahead. 2010 Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso is part of the Liquigas-Cannondale squad for the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, which begins on Monday, and is gunning for a strong performance in the race.

Basso was fourth overall in Tirreno Adriatico and seventh in the Volta a Catalunya. He feels that next week’s race should work out well, in terms of the parcours, and goes to Spain with a high level of ambition.

“The Vuelta al Pais Vasco has a selective course, with more uphill finishes arrivals and harsher slopes than those encountered in the Tirreno and Catalonia,” the 33 year old Italian said. “This is obviously a point in my favour, but one must never forget the competition. I have seen many riders going well this spring and I am sure that here too the level will be high.”

Last season saw a return to form for the Italian, who was clearly the strongest rider in the Giro. Going deep in that race affected him in the Tour de France, but he is nevertheless back in Grand Tour-winning form.

He’s targeting the Tour this year and has been riding solidly since the beginning of the season; he got things underway in January in the Tour de San Luis, was tenth in the Trofeo Laigueglia and first in the GP di Lugano in February, and then raced to those strong performances in Tirreno and Catalunya in March.

Heading into this next target, his confidence is good, and so too his physical condition. “I will address this challenge with great serenity and determination, knowing that I have the appropriate form to think big,” he said.

Basso will be backed by Francesco Bellotti, Damiano Caruso, Mauro Finetto, Paolo Longo Borghini, Dominik Nerz, Maciej Paterski and Simone Ponzi. Those riders – with the exception of Basso – will also line out in tomorrow’s Grand Prix Miguel Indurain.

Liquigas wants to leave its mark on both events. “The team is motivated and determined to do well," says directeur sportif Dario Mariuzzo. "All the riders have increased their condition and I am convinced that we will be protagonists in the challenging routes that we will find in Spain.”

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