Author: Jean Francois
Published: 05/06/12 11:14
Among the favorites of the 2012 Tour of Italy, Ivan Basso has scored the second best time, only three seconds slower than Astana’s Roman Kreuziger who clocked the 8.7km inaugural time trial 36 seconds behind eventual winner Taylor Phinney. The Italian from Liquigas-Cannondale doesn’t hide that he’s looking at a third overall success after 2006 and 2010 despite reaching the age of 35 this year.
CYCLINGTIME.com: The advantage you got over the other favorites like Michele Scarponi (55 seconds) or Fränk Schleck (20 seconds) in only 8.7 kilometres, does that increase your confidence at the beginning of the Giro?
IVAN BASSO: I’m happy to start the Giro on the right foot. It’s an encouraging signal, especially for my morale. My goal was to not lose too many seconds. Looking at the results, my race has even been better than expected but it’s not the right time to celebrate. The road to Milan is a long one. Seconds can be lost or gained anywhere during the three weeks of racing. I have to keep my focus on the same level as during the prologue.
CT: Paolo Zanni, the owner of the Liquigas-Cannondale team, said that you’re in an even better shape than two years ago when you won the Giro. Is that correct?
IB: Doctor Zanni is my number 1 supporter, so it’s normal that he’s enthusiastic about my racing. He knows who I am: a very serious and dedicated professional cyclist. The most complicated part of my preparation for the Giro has been made of two crashes two weeks away from each other in March. In the past fourty days leading up to this race, I’ve had to recover the condition I had lost because of these crashes. But at the age of 34, I’ve got some experience. I’m mature enough to know where I’m at and I can tell you that I have a good condition for riding the Giro in an excellent manner.
CT: How special is it for you to start the Tour of Italy in Denmark?
IB: I love it! You know I’ve race for a few years in a Danish team, CSC [now called Saxo Bank] and I was welcomed like a hero here in 2005. After coming second to Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France, I won the Tour of Denmark. I’ve come to this country for some pre-season military style training camps. It’s nice to come back in a country where you can feel the passion of the people for cycling.
CT: Who do you see as your main rival for the overall win?
IB: Fränk Schleck. He was my team-mate when I won my first Giro in 2006. He has entered the start list of this race at the last minute but he’s a great professional, a rider who made the final podium (third overall) of the last Tour de France. He knows how it works. The first rule for the Grand Tours is to live it day by day, as if any stage was a decisive one. As for myself, my team is ready to help me to conquer my third title and we trust each other very much.
CT: Do you already have plans for after the Giro?
IB: In any case, I’ll go and ride the Tour de France in support of Vincenzo Nibali. I’ve promised him and I’m a man of words. I finished seventh at the Tour last year but I’m convinced that Nibali can do better this year. He was a precious help for me when I won the Giro two years ago. Now I’m back to this race with the aim of getting the title again.
Author: Jean FrancoisPublished: 05/06/12 11:14