Basso won the Giro d'Italia in 2006 and 2010 and has built his 2013 season around the Italian Grand Tour, with teammate Peter Sagan targeting the Classics and the Tour de France. While Basso and his eight teammate compete in Italy, Sagan will lead another Cannondale squad at the Amgen Tour of California.
Basso is now 35 and has yet to show any signs of form for the Giro d'Italia but he claims he has worked hard in training and the team management back his bid for a third pink jersey.
“Basso’s results and preparation were as expected. He focused only on the Giro and we wanted him ready for this race. After two difficult years, this time Ivan followed his program without problems or injuries. He did all he had to do. Now the roads will give the verdict, but not many riders are as tough and determined as Ivan," directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta said in a press release from the team.
Viviani will make his debut at the Giro d'Italia and is expected to use his track racing skills to go shoulder-to-shoulder with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) in the sprint finishes.
"It’s important that he takes his chances and gains experience. We’re confident in him but he’s not under pressure to win. Elia is a young guy with a great talent: he will be free to race without pressure,” Zanatta explained.
Basso and Viviani will be backed by seven strong domestiques, with Cristiano Salerno and Josè Sarmiento there to help him in the mountains.
“The Giro d’Italia is such an important race and the team is very motivated,” Zanatta said.
“I think will be a tough race until the very last day and Cannondale Pro Cycling will be able to play an important role. Nibali and Wiggins, as well as their teams: Astana and Sky, will have the pressure of being the favourites. We need to be patient and to be ready to exploit every situation. We know the Giro will be a hard challenge, but we're not ruling out any final result.”
Cannondale Pro Cycling line-up for the Giro d'Italia:
Riders: Ivan Basso, Elia Viviani, Tiziano Dall’Antonia, Paolo Longo Borghini, Alan Marangoni, Fabio Sabatini, Cameron Wurf, Cristiano Salerno and Josè Sarmiento.
Directeur Sportif: Stefano Zanatta, Dario Mariuzzo and Alberto Volpi.