Ivan Basso has ceased training under the supervision of the Mapei Centre and will instead be coached by Cannondale directeur sportif Paolo Slongo in 2013.
Since returning from suspension in late 2008 following his involvement in the blood doping practices of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, Basso had trained at the Mapei Centre in Castellanza. He began collaborating with the late Aldo Sassi during his suspension and continued to work with Mapei Centre staff following Sassi’s death in late 2010.
Cannondale manager Roberto Amadio stressed that Basso’s collaboration with the Mapei Centre was not ended due to any dissatisfaction with its results, but simply because the team wishes for all of its riders to be trained internally.
“It’s not a question of lack of faith or lack of results, but we’re ending our relationship with the Mapei Centre,” Amadio told Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s a question of our policy. If our captain is going to an external coach, our young riders feel justified in doing the same.”
Basso finished a disappointing 5th at the 2012 Giro after Liquigas had largely controlled the race for the first two weeks, but Amadio reiterated his confidence in the veteran Italian’s ability to lead.
“It’s not like he finished last in the Giro; he came 5th after racing like a leader,” he said. “After Nibali’s departure [to Astana – ed.] we’re not the same in the Grand Tours, but Basso can still finish on the podium.”
Basso will begin his season at the GP Lugano and will race Paris-Nice as part of his build-up to the Giro.
Cannondale replaces Liquigas as lead sponsor ahead of the 2013 season and Amadio said that his team will place greater emphasis on the American calendar during the new campaign.
Hitherto a predominantly Italian squad, Cannondale retains its existing management structure and national affiliation but will have a far more international outlook under its new guise, with 13 of its 27-man roster hailing from outside of Italy.
“The WorldTour will be the priority but the American calendar is becoming more important than the European one, and the team presentation on January 12 will be in Los Angeles,” Amadio said.
While Peter Sagan will again be on hand at the Tour of California, Amadio confirmed that Cannondale’s “A-team” will line up at the Giro d’Italia in support of Ivan Basso. “Sagan will do the Tour de France again, so he can’t do the Giro,” Amadio said.
Sagan, meanwhile, returns to action in January at the Tour de San Luis, and will again fine-tune his classics form at Tirreno-Adriatico.