Ivan Basso was third in last year's Tour de France but made a literal step up this time round, finishing second in the race and showing greater all round strength. He's stronger as a climber and closer to the specialists in the time trials, limiting his losses yesterday against riders like Armstrong and Ullrich.
"It is very big for me to finish second in the Tour de France. It's been an important race for us, and I'm happy, that we've lived up to the expectations," he said today. "I had high ambitions, but knew it would be risky business to do both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in the same season. But the team has been there for me and made it possible for me to do well in the Tour."
"It has meant a great deal to me, that the team has had faith in me getting this far, and I'm proud of the results we have achieved together. I'm still a young rider with many years in which to improve. I'm happy that this will be possible together with Bjarne and the rest of the team."