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Posts tagged ‘Ivan Basso’

ivan basso

I interviewed Ivan Basso at the Cannondale training camp. The story is in the new Cycling Illustrated magazine. Stoked with how it came out.

masked man

Who is that masked man?

Yes, it gets cold in California. Once in a while.

Ivan Basso, Cannondale Camp, January 2013.

Liquigas Doimo Giro Team

Liquigas has taken on a new co-sponsor beginning at this year’s Giro. Doimo is one of the leading furniture manufacturers in Italy. So far, the sponsorship agreement covers the Giro d’Italia, but it may extend into a more permanent relationship.

Liquigas also today announced the riders for the Giro Centenario. Ivan Basso fresh off his win at the Giro del Trentino will lead the team. Franco Pellizotti, who finished fourth in last year’s Giro d’Italia, is listed as a co-captain, though it seems likely he will ride in support of Basso when it comes right down to it. Kjell Carlström, Manuel Quinziato, Gorazd Stangelj, and Alessandro Vanotti will drive the team on the flats, while Valerio Agnoli, Vladimir Miholjevic, and Sylwester Szmyd support Basso and Pellizotti in the mountains.

Sadly, Liquigas sprinter Daniele Bennati has not recovered from the injury he suffered at Tirreno-Adriatico and will miss this year’s Giro. He hopes to recover in time for the Tour de France. Given the ambitions of the team’s stage race captains Basso and Pellizotti, Bennati would not likely have had much team support in the sprints, anyway.

In somewhat related news, Damiano Cunego called Ivan Basso the favorite to win this Giro in an interview this morning on Sky.it. Cunego said that Basso had a “good head and motor,” and is a true rider for the stage races. Cunego believes Basso has a “better chance than Armstrong” to wear Pink in Roma. For his own part, Cunego is hoping to make the podium this time around. In the years since his win in 2004, Cunego has consistently finished in the top five. To beat Basso is a big ask, but a podium finish is well within reach for Cunego.

Back lates with some chat about Liège. Yes, that’s very out of order of me. I s’pose you can sue if you like, but I’d rather you didn’t.

Giro del Trentino: Climbing to the Snow

Today’s stage finished on the Alpe di Pampeago, scene of Marco Pantani’s famous win in the 1999 Giro. Random factoid: Gilberto Simoni finished second that day. Today, it snowed at the summit.

Ivan Basso gave notice that he is ready for the high mountains of the upcoming Giro. The Varesino set a torrid pace on the steep slopes of the Pampeago, whose average gradient of 8.7% is not for the faint of heart. Only Giampaolo Caruso of Ceramica Flaminia and Przemyslaw Niemec of Miche Silver Cross could hold Basso’s wheel. With 1500 meters to go, Niemec jumped free. The 29 year old Polish rider, who missed the 2007 season recovering from an accident, celebrated a solo victory at the summit. Niemac called the victory a dream come true, “Every year I have ridden strong, but I have never won.”

Basso finished 22 seconds behind Niemac and moved up to second in the general classification behind Janez Brajkovic of Astana, who took over the lead from his team-mate, Andreas Klöden. Klödie won the opening crono, but found the steep slopes of the Pampeago considerably less to his liking. “I am very happy,” said Basso after the stage. Contento, if not tranquilo. “I rode hard the whole climb, then Niemec jumped away like a spring,” he explained. All the same, he called the stage “an ideal test.” Basso looks well-prepared for the start in Venezia in two weeks time. Though his opening crono did not inspire confidence, after his hard work today, Basso trails Brajkovic by just 4 seconds. Niemac is currently third, 22 seconds down.

For some of the other Giro favorites, it proved a less optimal day. Gilberto Simoni has suffered from the flu over the past few days, and was disappointed with his fourth place finish on the Pampeago. Today’s stage passed over Simoni’s local roads and no doubt he’d like to have collected one more win on the Pampeago. Simoni finished 45 seconds down on Niemac and 23 on Basso. “This was the first test and I hoped to ride well,” Simoni said after the stage. “I did not go well, as is clear,” he concluded. Danilo Diluca of LPR Brakes finished still further behind at 1.50, but the former Giro winner believes that his form is “building.” “I am not on top form,” he admitted, but today’s stage was only the “first hard finish.” Diluca remains optimistic about his chances, when the Giro d’Italia starts in two weeks time.

Tomorrow’s stage of the Giro del Trentino is a hilly affair that crosses the border into Austria. Full results and stage information at steephill.tv.

Post-race quotes from Gazzetta dello Sport.

Green Bean of Filottrano: Tirreno-Adriatico

“Beh, if you don’t win, I’m going to call you the Fagiano of Filottrano, the pheasant of Filottrano.” This is how Gilberto Simoni motivated his team-mate Michele Scarponi, nicknamed the Eagle of Filottrano, to win Monday’s Tirreno-Adriatico stage in front of his home crowd. At least, Simoni didn’t threaten to call him the Fagiolino of Filottrano. That would be the Green Bean of Filottrano.

The real racing of today’s stage started with 42 kilometers to ride on the Sasso Tetto, a snow-topped climb which summited at 1455 meters of elevation. Feeling frisky, Danilo Diluca attacked first. Michele Scarponi, the stage win on his mind, countered. Then came Ivan Basso. Towing his Liquigas team-mate Vincenzo Nibali, Basso set a furious pace up the climb, announcing his return to the top level after his two year’s vacation courtesy of Etorri Torre of CONI. Do you think he sent Torre a postcard? Dear Etorri, Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here. Love, Ivan. Er, maybe not. Basso and Nibali reached the summit of the Sasso Tetto first. I have returned, Basso seemed to say. And we see no reason to doubt him.

On the descent, Vincenzo Nibali attacked. Nibali has taken a liking for the front of the bike race lately. So far, this liking has not yielded him a win. If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. Or something. In any case, off went Nibali on the descent to try his hand at a solo break. For a time, it worked.

On the climb to the historical city center of Camerino, a three-up break containing Michele Scarponi, Stefano Garzelli, and Ivan Basso chased Nibali. Basso sat on, natch. With still some kilometers left to ride (really, do you expect me to remember all these details?), Nibali ran short on legs and got dropped. Basso looked back, confused. Like, dude, where are you going? With his team-mate out the back, Basso attacked the break, but could not get a gap. Memo to Basso: Speed work is your friend. Basso has never had much acceleration. A passista extraordinaire, he turns the screws gradually. Sometimes it works. Like, in three week stage races. Other times, not so much. Today was one of those other times.

The group of three reached Camerino together, turning the advantage to Garzelli and Scarponi. Both have fast finishes. Eat your heart out, Ivan. Of course, Basso may well have the last laugh, if he takes home the Pink shirt in Rome. But that’s a story for another day.

At the line, Scarponi sprinted from the front, and Garzelli could not come around. Victory in front of the home crowd for the Aquila of Filottrano. Yes, thank you, can you make that a doppio? Scarponi also took over the jersey of race leader from German Andreas Klöden. Garzelli sits second in GC at 25 seconds, while Klödie is third at 1.07.

Scarponi owes Basso a thank you note, at the very least. Basso drove hard on the final climb and his efforts certainly made the difference for Scarponi. Though George Hincapie worked hard on the front for Columbia-High Road’s Thomas Lövkvist who began the day second in the general classification, he proved unable to bring down the gap. Perhaps Scarponi can take Basso out for a nice dinner.

Tomorrow, Tirreno-Adriatico concludes with a flat circuit, a gift for the sprinters. The general classification should remain un-changed, while the sprinters have their fun.