Basso to give way to Pellizotti

Although Garmin-Slipstream remains the hot favourite on the dead flat inaugural team time trial of the Giro on Saturday, the Liquigas squad will approach the event with the ambition

Although Garmin-Slipstream remains the hot favourite on the dead flat inaugural team time trial of the Giro on Saturday, the Liquigas squad will approach the event with the ambition of winning two years after their success in La Maddalena in Sardegna. That year, Enrico Gasparotto created a controversy when he crossed the line in first position and took the first pink jersey instead of his team captain Danilo Di Luca.

As Liquigas introduced their Giro team with two captains, Ivan Basso and Franco Pellizotti, it was uncertain which one of them would be designated to be the first man on the line. "It will be decided by the team directors but the most important would be to win it first," Pellizotti said. Team manager Roberto Amadio stated that "this time trial course is very different from the one in Sardegna two years ago. Our chances to win are less this time."

Basso was prompt to take his turn to talk about it. "This is the last of our problems," he said firmly. "From my side, if we have an advantage, it would be fair that Pellizotti would be the first on the line because he demonstrated last year that he deserves to wear the pink jersey. I'm the last one who joined the team and I'll be a very loyal teammate. If at some point he is in a situation to win the Giro, I will be be at his disposal."

Basso ruled out any eventual rivalry inside the Liquigas team. "Since the day I signed with the team, there has been talk about which one of us would be the captain," he recalled. "This controversy has actually been very beneficial for us, it has strengthened our relationship. We are very good friends now and we'll form one of the most dangerous pairs of this Tour of Italy. It's more important than what will happen during the first team time trial."

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