In one week, vacation time will be over for Liquigas-Cannondale's Ivan Basso, and he will get back to work in hopes of having a more satisfying year than 2011. In 2012, he will aim for his third Giro d'Italia victory rather than focus solely on the Tour de France.
Basso just returned from Italy from a holiday in the Canary Islands, which was spent with his young family, to donate one of his pink jerseys to the Museo del ciclismo di Cesiomaggiore at the presentation of the two Dolomite stages of the upcoming Giro d'Italia.
Writing in his persona blog, http://ivanbassoofficial.blogfree.net, Basso revealed that he has been having neuromuscular issues since a training crash in Sicily last May on Mount Etna. While 15 stitches closed the wounds to his face, he has had lingering problems with his neck from the incident.
"Under pressure, I still have tingling in my right arm and hand, I have to solve these neuromuscular problems that are triggered from the neck. Under stress, then the right eye is more closed than the other from the scar that pulls on the skin. ... I am continuing with stretching and strengthening exercises, especially for the muscles of the neck."
Basso admitted that his singular focus on the Tour de France this year ended in disappointment. "When you focus on one goal, in my case the Tour, and you fail to reach it, the season is bad."
He finished eighth overall in Paris, more than seven minutes behind winner Cadel Evans, and Basso blamed the crash which put him off the bike for almost two weeks in May for hurting his chances. "In usually do 30-40 thousand meters of climbing in training per month. In May, after the crash on Mount Etna and 12 days of rest, I only did 16,000, but I finished in Lombardia with a smile."
Following the Tour, Basso returned to form to win the rather farcical Giro di Padania before closing out the European season with a strong performance in Il Lombardia, where he was out-sprinted for the final podium spot by Joaquim Rodriguez.
"I have passed three seasons at the highest level, and my goal is to win my third Giro. The 2012 edition is very suitable, and I have always won when the race started from abroad." Basso won when the race started in and from Seraing, Belgium in 2006 and from Amsterdam in 2010. Next year, the Giro will start in Herning, Denmark.
"There are three key stages: Cortina, and the two climbs, the Pampeago and Stelvio Pampeago where, in the last 4km of the climb you are above 2200 meters and cannot breathe. If you can't do it here, you lose the Giro."