The Giro d’Italia starts tomorrow. Ivan Basso: «It will be a tough, intriguing challenge »
The wait is nearly over: the Corsa Rosa opens with an 8.7 km time trial
Ivan Basso and Liquigas-Cannondale are calmly taking the eve of the Giro d’Italia in Herning in their stride. Tomorrow the Danish city will host the race’s opening stage, an 8.7 km individual time trial which marks the official start of the battle for the pink jersey.
Green-blue captain Ivan Basso revealed that he would compete in the race later than his opponents due to a couple of notorious falls at Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya, but those falls haven’t affected his motivation and drive. «I’ve had a rocky lead-up to the Giro, probably the worst since I turned pro, but if I’m here, it’s because I’m convinced I can be competitive. April was crucial in this respect and I managed to make up for lost time and experience those feelings that generate determination and morale. Of course, I’d have preferred not to have had any hitches but I’m not the sort of person who lets it get them down. I’ve got a desire to race and that pushes me on, as does the trust conveyed by everyone around me. In these early days with my teammates I’ve seen they’re highly motivated and determined to chase the dream of another maglia rosa. Only one rider can wear it though, it’s true, but you won’t get anywhere without your team. »
Ivan may be itching to race but he also has great respect for his adversaries, «It’ll be a very open Giro because of the tough, intriguing parcours and also because of the men I’m up against. There isn’t one rider who stands out from the others, just lots of outstanding athletes who all have their own strengths. Scarponi, Kreuziger, Schleck, Cunego, Rodriguez, Gadret… It’s really going to be a difficult race every single day. We’ll have to watch out for the weather and wind in Denmark and then every stage in Italy will have surprises in store. The third week, which has the most demanding climbs, will be the one to decide the winner. Experience has taught me that you can’t really pick out any one day in particular in a big stage race. They will be twenty-one stages of pure concentration. Obviously I hope to get to the mountains without any glitches, and then we’re onto my preferred terrain: the climbs. I’m not in the habit of making assertions and I don’t feel like the number one favourite. I just know that I’m totally motivated to fight for the maglia rosa. I’ve worked hard for this dream since the winter and overcome many difficulties: I’ll continue to fight until the last drop of sweat has fallen to win this race. »