Ivan Basso’s Giro d’Italia preparation suffered a further setback when he was forced to abandon the Volta a Catalunya on Wednesday. The Liquigas-Cannondale rider fell just 7km into the snow-shortened stage to Port del Canto, taking a heavy blow to the same right knee that he injured in a fall at Paris-Nice.
“The roads were wet, we were going at about 40kph and there was a bend,” Basso told Gazzetta dello Sport. “A rider hit a car at the side of the road, bounced off it and made six or seven fall, myself included.”
Although Basso did not suffer a particularly forceful blow, he fell awkwardly, and had the misfortune of taking a knock to the same knee that he injured in France. Julian Dean (GreenEdge) was a faller in the same crash and suffered a broken leg.
“My foot stayed clipped in and my right knee hit off both my frame and the tarmac,” Basso said. “I don’t have a scratch on me, but I took a bang in the same place at Paris-Nice and it swelled up a lot. I looked to keep on going but there was no sense in that, and I stopped after 80km.”
Remarkably, Basso has yet to finish a race in 2012. He has now abandoned the Trofeo Laigueglia, GP Lugano, Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya. With the Giro just six weeks away, the Italian faces a race against time if he is going to impact the race. He will continue his preparation with a lengthy training camp at Teide in Tenerife, and will return to racing at the Tour of Romandy (April 24) in a bid to get some racing in his legs before the Giro.
“I have to wait for the result of the scans, there would be no point in making plans beforehand,” said Basso. “If it’s only a blow, then I’ll rest for the weekend and then I’ll leave Italy for the Canaries. Otherwise, there’s no point in hiding it, things would be complicated.”
While Basso’s teammate Vincenzo Nibali was initially pencilled in to forgo the Giro and ride the Tour de France, the Sicilian is only set to make a definitive decision on which grand tour he rides in late April.
Winner of Tirreno-Adriatico and animator of Milan-San Remo, Nibali is not due to race again until the Ardennes classics, and was already set to train with the Liquigas-Cannondale Giro pre-selection in Teide in the coming weeks.