I.B., The Extra Terrestrial?

Such was the description used to denote the performance of the maglia rosa over the past three weeks...

Such was the description used to denote the performance of the maglia rosa over the past three weeks by Gilberto Simoni. But 2006 Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso says the only thing he's got in common with that stranded alien creature, three million light years away, is his desire to phone home. Anthony Tan reports from Milan, Italy.

Yesterday, a magnificent mountain stage was soured by the comments of Gilberto Simoni, who described the performance of Ivan Basso over the past three weeks as out of this world - defining it 'extra-terrestrial'.

"I've never seen anyone dominate [like Basso], never seen any one that strong! He seems like an extra-terrestrial," Simoni said post-stage, his face and words minced with bitterness.

Whether the Trentino scalatore was implying Basso was 'assisted' in some way is up for speculation, but Basso wasn't happy when he heard this: "I don't like to be called an extra-terrestrial or a phenomenon," he said.

"I've been on the podium in the Tour de France twice and was the only rider who could stay with Armstrong on the climbs. My ride today is another demonstration of how I've been riding during this Giro. And I don't think I stole anything from anyone. I've already shown my character at this year's Giro."

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