During Team CSC's gathering in Denmark this week, Italian Ivan Basso had an in-depth discussion of his programme with manager Bjarne Riis. After analysing Basso's performances and progress over the course of his 2005 season, they are now convinced that riding both Giro d'Italia and Tour de France with the highest step on the podium in mind is not an unrealistic goal to set for 2006.
The team communicated this to the press on Sunday afternoon. "I like the Giro parcours; and I had already achieved something important this season, so I want to finish that work," commented Basso in Denmark. The 28 year-old, who is one of the main favourites for the next Tour de France, was forced to let go of the 2005 Giro d'Italia overall lead due to a stomach bug.
Angelo Zomegnan, head of Giro d'Italia organiser RCS, was very happy about the news. "I can only be very satisfied about Bjarne Riis' and Team CSC's decision to send its leader Ivan Basso to the 2006 Giro d'Italia," Zomegnan said in a statement. "His presence will add greatly to the race and contribute to its high ranking. This announcement makes us proud in a special way, because it further increases the already great field of prestigious candidates to the maglia rosa, be they Italian or foreign. We will wait for all of them in Liège."