Basso races Lombardia, memories of Chiappucci 15 years ago

Ivan Basso closes euro-season with Giro di Lombardia, at home without pressure

Italian Ivan Basso (Liquigas) races Giro di Lombardia Saturday, a race he first saw in the team car of cycling legend Claudio Chiappucci.

"It's beautiful to start from your home, there are always many fans out there for me," Basso told Cyclingnews. "I remember the first time I saw Lombardia, I was in the team car of Carrera, the year [1994] Chiappucci second behind [Vladislav] Bobrik. It was very beautiful."

Basso finished third behind Damiano Cunego, his highest place in the race, 10 years later. He will start the last of five cycling's "Monuments" this year without pressure for the win, he said.

"There are eight to 10 riders that are going stronger, I don't believe I am at the level to win. I am going well, I arrived in Emilia with the top riders but it is still a level below what it takes to win."

The 103rd Giro di Lombardia starts in Varese and finishes in Como, 242 kilometres. The Madonna di Ghisallo, Civiglio and San Fermo climbs come in the final 60 kilometres and will decide the race.

Basso's season goals were the Giro d'Italia in May, fifth overall, and the Vuelta a España in September, fourth. He won the overall of Giro del Trentino in April.

He returned to the sport last year after a two-year suspension for his involvement with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, centre of the Operación Puerto doping investigation. He joined team Liquigas and raced the first and only race he could after his suspension ended, Japan Cup, October 26. He will officially end this season where he began his comeback last year, in Japan, October 25.

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