Ivan Basso is looking ahead to the Vuelta a España's second half in two weeks, after the race leaves The Netherlands and Belgium. The Italian is leading Team Liquigas and trying to win the overall classification.
"The first stages are complicated not because of the climbing, but because of the tension. You have to keep in mind the wind and the crashes," Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport before the start.
The Vuelta a España, from August 29 to September 20, starts today in Assen with a 4.8-kilometre time trail. The first four stages run through The Netherlands and Belgium, and the first pivotal stage will be the 30-kilometre time trial in Valencia on Friday according to Basso.
Regarding that important stage, Basso said, "My goal will be to finish, losing as little (time) as possible to the favourites. I also have to keep in mind the next day, when there will be the first mountaintop finish.
"There is not one key stage in this Vuelta. I like the triple [Alto de Velefique, Sierra Nevada and Pandera - ed.] in Andalucía. If you are going well, you will find heaven, but if you feel bad it will be hell."
It is Basso's first time racing the Vuelta a España. He finished fifth in this year's Giro d'Italia and won the 2006 edition. He placed second in the 2005 Tour de France.
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