By Gregor Brown
Ivan Basso is ready to start his 2007 campaign. This year he will head west, starting his season with his new American team on US soil, in California. "The Tour of California, starting February 15, will be the first race with the new team; excellent teammates and an optimum team," said the 29 year-old Italian in a TV interview with SKY Life - Sport.
This past year, after being linked to Operación Puerto, Basso made the switch from Bjarne Riis' Danish Team CSC to join Johann Bruyneel at Discovery Channel. He did not want to talk on the subject of the Spanish investigation, "I pay a good lawyer for that, question him," but rather on his new team and upcoming season.
After two training camps, he is finding that the differences between his old and news teams are small. "We are talking of two of the best teams in the world. CSC and Discovery are very similar in their management and in their methods of preparation; I have noted only minimal differences in switching teams."
Basso indicated that after California he will return home to compete in the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Milano-Sanremo. "I am very calm inside. There will be new and old adversaries at the Giro [d'Italia] and Tour [de France]. ... The Tour is the most beautiful race in the world. The Giro I have already won, and the Tour I have a crazy desire to race at the highest of levels. I am not angry, I do not harbour bitterness. Rage causes you to make stupid errors; with hurriedness and the desire for revenge you do not get far. I want to go far; I am preparing well."
After spending time in the USA, Basso was happy to comment on what he thought about its riders and fans. "The passion of the people is not yet at a level like ours [in Italy] but it is close," he continued. "In the USA there are already the champions to win in every type of race, one-day races and stage races. All in all, cycling in America does not lack anything for success."