Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) came through the Giro d’Italia’s three days in Denmark among the best-placed of the overall contenders after delivering a solid display in the prologue and then emerging unscathed from the crash-strewn opening road stages.
Basso lies 39 seconds down in 37th place overall, but he has already gained 26 seconds on Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and is just three second behind Roman Kreuziger (Astana), the best-placed of the pink jersey contenders.
While conditions were chilly for much of the weekend, Basso pointed out that the wind did not influence matters on the road as much as he had anticipated beforehand.
“The prologue and the first two stages were very difficult on paper, but we were quite lucky with the weather conditions,” Basso told Gazzetta dello Sport. “We didn’t have the classic Danish wind, so we’ve come out of these Danish stages well. But after the rest day we have another very important day, the team time trial in Verona.”
Basso was a particularly prominent figure in the front rows of the peloton in the finale of stage three to Horsens. Safely tucked on Valerio Agnoli’s rear wheel and surrounded by a phalanx of lime green Liquigas-Cannondale jerseys, Basso was vigilant as the race entered its sometimes technical finishing circuit.
“I brought back the win at the Giro in 2006 and 2010 by riding that way,” Basso said. “My teammates have faith in me, so does all the staff. They all believe and they’ll keep working to put me in the ideal conditions to try and do well in this Giro.”
The dramatic crash that brought down Mark Cavendish (Sky) and maglia rosa Taylor Phinney (BMC) dominated the post-stage discussions, but Basso admitted that he had been concentrated simply on staying upright himself.
“I hope that the fall doesn’t have consequences that will affect the rest of [Phinney’s] Giro,” Basso said. “I don’t exactly what the situation was with time bonuses, maybe he was up there because he was worried someone would pick up seconds to take the jersey off him. I don’t know because I was focused on not falling and losing time myself.
“At his age, he’s certainly not here to win the Giro but to try and keep the maglia rosa as long as possible. The maglia rosa gives you a special energy that sometimes causes you to make mistakes, but he’s a great rider and I hope for him that he can continue in the race.”
An x-ray on Monday evening confirmed that Phinney had broken no bones, and in spite of receiving stitches to a wound on his foot, Phinney is expected to defend his overall lead when the race resumes on Wednesday.
The peloton left Denmark by air on Monday night ahead of Tuesday’s rest day in Verona, scene of Basso’s second Giro victory in 2010. His plans for the eve of the team time trial are straightforward: “I’ll do three hours on the bike and spend the other 23 hours in bed.”