By Kirsten Robbins in San Luis, Argentina
Ivan Basso, winner of the 2006 Giro d'Italia, completed his first test of the 2009 season at the Tour of San Luis on Sunday. The Italian returned to the peloton following a two-year suspension for his involvement in the Operación Puerto investigation. According to Basso, his fifth place in the overall was a great performance to restart his career.
"My future is looking good," Basso told Cyclingnews. "I think we came out of this race better than when we came in. I went as I expected - not good and not bad. For me it was important to get some feeling in the group. After not being in the races for so long, I had to work on my technical skills and speed on the descents, and things like that."
Basso will take a short recovery period following the Tour de San Luis and mark the end of phase one of his training preparations for the Giro d'Italia, May 9 to 31. His aim is to improve for phase two at the Tour of California, held in mid-February. He will step into the third and last training phase in March at the Tirreno-Adriatico. March 11 to 17.
"It was a good time trial and it was good for me to ride in the front group on the climbs," Basso said. "The answer that I wanted from this race was to be good in the time trial and good in the climbs. I think I will arrive to California in better condition, but not to make it in the overall. It is still February and we have a lot of riders ready to win the overall."
(For more on Basso read his diary, Racing in Argentina.)