CSC's Ivan Basso is taking the unusual step of riding both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France this year - and aiming to do well in both. Conventional wisdom says that it's no longer possible to win two Grand Tours in the same season (Marco Pantani was the last rider to do it, winning the Giro and the Tour de France in 1998), but in an interview with Spanish sports newspaper As, Basso begs to differ, albeit cautiously.
"I believe that is possible to do the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in a same season," Basso said. "Due to this decision, I have reduced the emphasis on other races." And he won't be treating the Giro as just a warm-up or training race for the Tour, as some top riders have done in the past. "I will come to the Giro with the objective to do it well and to try to win it. An Italian cannot go to his [national] race without ambition."
Nevertheless, Basso admits he's taking a chance. He doesn't know if it's possible to be 100 percent fit for both races. "This I cannot know beforehand. I believe that I can do it well in the Giro and in the Tour, but right now I cannot be sure that I am going to fight for both."
Despite the ongoing disagreements between the Giro and the ProTour teams over start money, Basso believes the ProTour will benefit the Giro by raising the overall quality of the participants. "Thanks to the UCI ProTour, the Giro will have the better teams at the start, although the spectacle does not depend so much on the participating teams, as on those riders that come with the intention to race well," said Basso.
Turning to the Tour, Basso said of reigning champion Lance Armstrong, "It would be better to win the Tour with Armstrong present, I would like that a lot, but right now it is not the biggest problem for me. The question is how to win it, with or without Lance."