Giro d’Italia: rest day thoughts and insight from Ivan Basso
Composure and determination: the captain prepares for the final battle
«I’m calm because everything has gone right so far and my preferred terrain is coming up in the next few days. » Tranquil, calm and determined: this was Ivan Basso, Liquigas-Cannondale’s captain, at today’s press conference on the second rest day of the Giro d’Italia.
«Those who are ahead of me at the moment totally deserve to be there. Rodriguez hasn’t made any mistakes, and has produced a really consistent performance in every situation. My goal in these stages was not to lose. I’ve always succeeded, except with him. I couldn’t expect to compete in those finishes, either for the stage wins or when he attacks in final sprints. I have other strengths and that’s what I’ll be using in the remaining stages, which suit me better. The key factor when calculating how to win a Giro d’Italia is not to have a “so-so” day. If you can keep up a good enough performance, it means that the pink jersey is within your grasp. It’s been a unique, tiring and stressful race so far. The stages awaiting us now have over 5,000 meters of climbs which is why the miles separating us from Milan will be very, very demanding in this third week.»
Then Basso spoke about the team, «A lot has been said about how we’ve raced and our teamwork, and there’s even been some criticism. Of course you have to respect people’s opinions but what has sometimes been overlooked is that our strategy has been well planned and thought out; it may not produce immediate results but it will pay off in the long term. »
Ivan Basso has got clear ideas about the stages left in the Giro, «My type of progress makes the difference when the stage is selective and hurts the competition thanks to the team’s invaluable hard work, like Szmyd’s in the finals, particularly on the long climbs we’ll face on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I’m not making any promises or predictions but I’m sure it’s my only way to win and attack my opponents. I have great respect for Rodriguez and Hesjedal who are ahead of me, and also for those who are just a few seconds behind me on the GC like Scarponi and Kreuziger. If Purito keeps up the form he’s shown in these stages, or if someone else attacks and shows that they’re stronger, then they deserve to win. I don’t think about the other riders though: I just want to find the ideal conditions to be the best Basso possible in the three big remaining stages. How my opponents perform can vary and I’m not relying on that, I have to think about capitalising on my strengths. »
Basso’s final words summed up the spirit with which they have and will continue to tackle this Giro d’Italia, «My team and I want to win this Giro d’Italia and we’ll do everything we can to succeed. If that doesn’t happen, it will be because someone else was stronger and deserved to win and not because we failed. We’ll have a clear conscience knowing that we gave it 100%: we want to race with no regrets and with the certainty that no one can reproach us at all. We’ve worked on this goal for months with our preparations and scheduling, not just me but the whole team of riders and staff: no one will be able to say we didn’t try everything. »