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2010 Giro d'Italia champion: Ivan Basso
Contador, Nibali and Menchov set to fight victory
Ivan Basso has officially announced that he will not ride the 2011 Giro d'Italia, that starts May 7 in Torino. The defending champion of the 'maglia rosa' had previously indicated that he may have ridden in support of his Liquigas-Cannondale teammate Vincenzo Nibali - but he has now confirmed that he will focus entirely on preparing for the Tour de France.
On his personal website, Basso said that "the objective at the beginning of the season was to ride the Giro before the Tour de France, in order to help Vincenzo Nibali in his quest of the pink jersey. But at the moment, I don't have the physical condition to fulfill my role as he would deserve it."
Basso has been struggling with illness recently. He pulled out of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and has not raced for two weeks. bike. He is now recovering,as he told Cyclingnews before the Flèche Wallonne.
"Until now, I have been trying to find the sensations on the bike that would give me my back my confidence. But it was in vain. Together with my team, we have thus taken this painful decision. To me, it's a great sacrifice not to race the Giro."
Liquigas team manager Roberto Amadio also commented on the decision.
"To have Ivan at the start would have given Vincenzo a great contribution of experience, but the conditions do not allow it. In order not to take any risks in view of his preparation for the Tour de France, this is the best decision. We will honour the Giro as we have always done, with Vincenzo and co. looking to equal Ivan's feat and give us a new, immense satisfaction," Amadio said in a press release.
Basso will now fully focus to building up his form for this year's Tour de France. However, he promised his 'tifosi' to be back on Italian roads to try for a third Giro d'Italia title after in the future.
"The idea of winning a third pink jersey before the end of my career is an obsession," he concluded.
2011 Giro start list official
Meanwhile, a provisional start list for the Giro d'Italia has been published by RCS Sport, the organiser of the event. The 94th edition of the race will include four former winners: Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard), Danilo Di Luca (Katusha) and Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC).
Contador is the favourite for overall victory but will be racing as the Court of Arbitration hears the appeal by the UCI after his positive test for Clenbuterol at last year's Tour de France. Nibali is expected to be Contador's his main challenger. Other contenders include Carlos Sastre, co-leader at Geox-TMC, Katusha leader Joaquim Rodriguez, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), Roman Kreuziger (Astana), Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and David Arroyo (Movistar).
Even though the Giro will once again lots of mountain stages, many big-name sprinters will also ride: Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo), Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD), Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek), Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone), Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) and Gerald Ciolek (Quick Step) are all on the provisional start-list.