Cannondale leader test his form after 17 days at Mount Teide
Ivan Basso (Cannondale) is back in action at the Giro del Trentino this week after 17 days training at altitude on Mount Teide in preparation for the Giro d'Italia.
The Cannondale rider last raced at the Volta a Catalunya, quitting during the rain-soaked final stage in Barcelona. He will ride the four-day Giro del Trentino, testing his form in the three mountain stages that follow on from today's opening team time trial, then head to Switzerland for the Tour de Romandie (April 29-May 4). He will fly to Northern Ireland on May 6 ready for the Giro d'Italia that begins on Friday May 9.
"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."
No predictions for the Giro d'Italia
Basso will turn 37 in November but is confident he can still perform at the Giro d'Italia against the like of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), fellow veteran Cadel Evans (BMC) and Ireland's Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp).
With Vincenzo Nibali targeting the Tour de France, Basso is perhaps Italy's best hope for a place in the top five overall. However he refuses to make any specific predictions. He missed the 2013 Giro d'Italia due to a nasty saddle sore and then quit the Vuelta a España on stage 14 after struggling with the cold despite being well placed overall.
"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."
"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."
Basso will be joined by Moreno Moser, George Bennett, Damiano Caruso, Fabio Sabatini, Cristiano Salerno, neo-pro climber Davide Formolo and sprinter Elia Viviani in the Cannondale squad for the Giro del Trentino. Many of the same riders will also back him at the Giro d'Italia, with Caruso, Moser and Viviani also expected to have protected roles in May.
The triptych of mountain stages here in the Dolomites will likely be a shock to the system after a heavy training camp but Basso will be looking for answers and good feeling rather than pure results.
"I just want to stay with the best riders. I've really missed that feeling," he said.
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