Two times winner responds to critics over his team’s behavior
On the eve of the second rest day of the Giro d’Italia, which is most welcome by the riders after twelve consecutive days of racing, Ivan Basso explained that he feels where he needs to be with less than one week to go. He sits in third place overall with a deficit of 1:22 from reinstated leader Joaquim Rodriguez while former pink jersey wearer Ryder Hesjedal is second at 30 seconds.
“Slowly but surely, the overall classification of the Giro d’Italia is taking shape”, Basso said at Piani dei Resinelli above the city of Lecco. “At the end of next week, we can arrive at a higher position. The fight is very open. There’s one week of battles to come. The three hardest stages are yet to come. I remain very, very confident.”
In fact, Basso appeared even more confident than he was earlier in the Giro. Stage 14 started in Busto Arzisio less than ten kilometers away from his town of Cassano Magnago. Despite the rain, the crowd was enormous this Sunday morning for the Giro in Lombardy. “The public has been wonderful to me”, Basso said. “I’ve suffered a lot in the wet downhills but the people’s support has helped me a lot.”
Without being asked the question, the winner of the 2006 and 2010 Giro d’Italia justified the tactics employed by his Liquigas-Cannondale team. They rode once again as if they were leading the race, with Sylvester Szmyd taking enormous turns on the climbs, even though the pink jersey keeps bouncing from the shoulders of Ryder Hesjedal to those of Joaquim Rodriguez and back.
“I’m convinced that my behavior and my team’s behavior are right”, Basso said. “I’m sure that it’ll pay off at the end of next week. We ride for winning the Giro. We have to continue this way. People say that my team exposes itself too much to the wind but we just ride the same way we did in 2010.”