Bad Vibes between Basso and Simoni mar Giro finale

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

More polemics happened on Sunday morning between maglia rosa Basso and Gibo Simoni. At the sign-in at the Museo di Ghisallo in Magreglio, Simoni commented to the media about Basso, "I don't want to take anything away from (Basso). He won because he was the strongest and if I had won (in Aprica) it would have been a gift. But when we were descending (the Mortirolo), he asked me not to drop him on the descent. Then 5km from Aprica, (Basso) asked me for money to let me win the stage. I'm not used to asking for charity and I said no."

Just as Simoni finished his accusations, Basso showed up at the sign-in and resplendent in his pink tunic, tried to work things out with the bitter, biting Simoni by extending his hand to shake with Simoni, but the Saunier Duval man spit out to Basso, "I don't accept your excuses."

The surprised Basso turned to the media and explained, "It's true that I asked (Simoni) to stay with me on the descent, but the rest is all false." But Simoni wasn't backing off his allegations that Basso tried to sell him the stage, saying to Basso with his trademark cold smile "Do you want me to say how much you asked for?", and then turned his back on Basso and moved away.

Clearly agitated, Basso then said to the assembled media, "I'm just not going to let anything ruin my day today. I think I've shown all during this Giro that I am the strongest. As I said, I did ask Simoni to stay with me on the descent, but for the rest of his filthy words, they are absolutely false."

After the Giro d'Italia podium presentation in Milano Sunday afternoon, both Basso and Simoni appeared on the post race broadcast but the chill was arctic between both Italians. "I realize that Basso was the strongest in this Giro, but that doesn't change anything. What happened (on Stage 20) cancels out his win for me." But Basso didn't react much to Simoni; in fact, he didn't even look at the Saunier Duval rider seated to his left. "This is a great day for me", he repeated. "I'm not letting anything spoil it."

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