Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) was unable to follow Michele Scarponi’s acceleration in the final kilometre of stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia, on a finale which the Italian said was not suited to his characteristics.
The 19km ascent to Rocca di Cambio was tackled at high speed but the shallowness of its slopes meant that the leading group did not fragment until the closing 500 metres, when Scarponi and stage winner Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) jumped away. Basso came across the line 9 seconds down in 8th place.
“It’s not that I chose not to respond, it’s that I wasn’t able to respond,” Basso told Gazzetta dello Sport. “It wasn’t a finish that was very suited to my characteristics. The finale was quite technical before the final ramp in the last kilometre.”
When time bonuses were factored in, Basso conceded 21 seconds to Scarponi and 14 seconds to Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan), although he finished just ahead of Roman Kreuziger (Astana) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD). He now lies in 8th place overall, 40 seconds off the maglia rosa of Ryder Hesjedal.
“For me, it was ok to lose a few seconds even if it would have been better if it had been the contrary,” Basso said. “I managed to stay with the rhythm of riders who are more explosive than me for as long as I could. Nothing really happened, we’re just talking about a few seconds that in a day can be won or lost.”
Indeed, after a difficult start to the season which saw him consider forgoing the Giro altogether, Basso could allow himself a spot of gallows humour. “I’m happy that It's my first placing of the season,”
Although Rocca di Cambio was the first summit finish of the race, Basso felt that the nature of the climb meant that it was never likely to give any decisive indications of form. “It was a strange climb and you went up it at 30kph, so it’s not like you take many conclusions from it,” he said.
Nonetheless, Basso was impressed by former CSC teammate Frank Schleck’s display. The Luxembourger was a late addition to the RadioShack-Nissan team following Jakob Fuglsang’s withdrawal through injury, and he was present and correct in the closing stages on Saturday.
“Frank Schleck went well and that’s not a surprise for me,” Basso said. “I always thought he could grow in form here and become a very dangerous rival, because of his experience. But we’re all still there.”