Basso has built his season around the Tour, forgoing a defence of his Giro d’Italia crown in order to focus fully on a tilt at the podium. After struggling at the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Italian has recently been on a training camp at the Passo San Pellegrino in the Dolomites and team manager Roberto Amadio is convinced that his charge has sufficient mettle to make an impact at the Tour.
“Everybody knows our goals: to honour the race day after day and aim for the best possible result in the general classification,” Amadio said. “A captain like Ivan Basso allows us to look towards the podium and the yellow jersey with great ambition.
“Contador and Andy Schleck have shown themselves to be the strongest, but Ivan has just as much experience and class. He hasn’t been able to perform to his full potential until now though due to physical problems and Injuries, but I’m convinced Ivan, and his teammates, will treat us to a world-class performance during the Tour.”
As expected, the riders who accompanied Basso on that recent training camp at the will flank him at the Tour. Chief among them is domestique deluxe Sylvester Szmyd, who will offer Basso valuable help in the highest mountains.
“When we’re tackling the decisive stages and the group splits up, his help will be crucial for Ivan,” directeur sportif Andrea Zanatta explained.
Indeed, there is a distinctly Polish feel to the Liquigas roster, as Szmyd’s fellow countrymen Maciej Bodnar and Maciej Paterski have also made the cut.
Although there is no place for the precocious Slovakian talent Peter Sagan, there is a definite youthful bent to the Liquigas roster, with Daniel Oss and Kristijan Koren among those who will look to work for Basso in the opening week.
“We have a group of young riders like Oss, Koren, Bodnar, Paterski and Sabatini who have a real desire to make their mark, and at the same time guarantee us a sound level of experience,” Zanatta said.
Alessandro Vanotti and Paolo Longo Borghini will also bring their experience to bear on proceedings. As was anticipated since the beginning of the season, Vincenzo Nibali will skip the Tour de France following his exertions at the Giro d’Italia.
Liquigas-Cannondale team for the Tour de France:
Ivan Basso, Daniel Oss, Alessandro Vanotti, Paolo Longo Borghini, Fabio Sabatini, Sylvester Szmyd, Maciej Bodnar, Maciej Paterski and Kristijan Koren