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"I'm not going to make any predictions and it'd be pathetic if I said I'm going to win the Giro d'Italia," Basso said

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23.04.2014 @ 06:52 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

After a typically anonymous first months of a cycling season, Ivan Basso entered a final phase of his Giro d’Italia preparations, as the Cannondale leader lined up at the Giro del Trentino following 17 days spent at the altitude training on Mount Teide. Even though, aware that the passing time and stiff competition do not work in his favour, the 36-year old rules out the possibility of claiming yet another title in the Italian grand tour, he still hopes for a good result in general classification as one of the prominent representatives of the host country.

 

Basso participated in only two stage races before the Giro del Trentino kicked off with a team time trial yesterday, and performed accordingly to his usual disposition presented at this time of a year, finishing 24th in Tirreno-Adriatico and sitting 26th in the Volta a Catalunya general classification before abandoning the race during the untimate, rain-soaked stage.

 

The Cannondale leader has spent 17 days at altitude on Mount Teide following his appearances in Tirreno and Catalunya, and claimed to be very satisfied with results of a highly demanding training, even if he may have to pay the price of this kind of effort during three consecutive mountain stages in Italian Dolomites.

 

"Mount Teide is the best place to get ready for a Grand Tour because of the temperature, the roads, the climbing and the lifestyle," he explained in Tuesday's edition of Gazzetta dello Sport.

 

“The hotel is at 2150 metres and the road peaks at 2300m. Your day is totally dedicated to cycling: breakfast, training, rest, massage, dinner and rest. It's all very disciplined but it has always been worth it considering the results: I was third in the 2009 Giro d'Italia, first in 2010, fifth in 2012."

 

Apparently satisfied with his build-up for the Giro d’Italia, Basso obviously targets general classification of the season’s first grand tour,  however, he ruled out a possibility of claiming his third title in the event, pointing out to an stiff competition from the likes of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Rafał Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) or Cadel Evans (BMC).

 

However, while the current title holder, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) skips the Giro d’Italia to challenge Christopher Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the Tour de France, the 36-year old Cannondale leader may be one of Italian biggest hopes for a good result in the event, alongside his fellow countrymen Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2R La Mondiale), Michele Scarponi, Fabio Aru (Astana) or Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida).

 

"I'm not going to make any predictions and it'd be pathetic if I said I'm going to win the Giro d'Italia," Basso said.

 

"It'd be a surprise if I got my best ever results at this age. I know my limits but that also means I understand how to better them. My numbers (in training) are up there with my best. That doesn't mean I'm going to win or get on the podium because that depends on the other riders and the race."

 

Confident about his current disposition, Basso acknowledges that the passing time does not work in his favour as he will turn 37 this year, and that despite even best preparations one bad day can waste all the chances for a good result in the grand tour race, as it happened during the Vuelta a Espana last year.

 

"But I'm convinced that I can be in the action and do something. For a rider like me, that means the overall classification. I'd be happy just to stay healthy and on form. I know that seven or eight months ago I was with the best at the Vuelta a España until something unexpected took me out of the race."

 

The 36-year old Italian is one of four Cannondale protected riders for the Giro del Trentino, alongside Damiano Caruso, Moreno Moser and Elia Viviani, with George Benett, Fabio Sabatini, Cristiano Salerno and Davide Formolo completing the line up. The same quartet is expected to become main forces of the Italian team in the coming season’s first grand tour event.

 

Basso is aware that three consecutive mountain stages at the Giro del Trentino will provide him with a tough challenge following his latest efforts at the altitude training. Thus, the former double Giro d’Italia champion aims to regain racing rhythm and stay with the best during the Italian four-day affair, and will participate in one more event, Tour de Romandie, before meeting his season’s first objective in May.

 

"I just want to stay with the best riders. I've really missed that feeling," he said.

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