Basso back on the bike after Etna accident

Almost ten days after his accident on the slopes of Mount Etna, Ivan Basso is back training with his Liquigas-Cannondale team in preparation for the Tour de France. Still suffering from the 15 stitches he received to facial injuries after the fall, Basso is gradually increasing his hours on the bike since last Friday, and slowly coming back to the level of form he had prior to the crash.

"Ivan's fitness is getting better every day," said sports director and trainer Paolo Slongo from the team's training camp in Sicily, due to end this Saturday. "But we don't want to force things. Gradually, he has been back on the bike for short and not very intensive rides. There is no need to create too much stress at the moment: Ivan will soon come back to his initial programme."

Basso admitted that he is already putting a lot of pressure on himself without the squad having to push him. "I have great desire to get back into the rhythm, but I don't want to generate any complications," he said on the team's website. "It's all but easy to head out with the stitches in my face. I'm doing my utmost not to lose too much time. I hope my injuries will heal soon and that I can take up my training programme again in view of the Tour."

Other Liquigas riders at the training camp include Maciej Bodnar, Davide Cimolai, Mauro Finetto, Kristijan Koren, Dominik Nerz, Maciej Paterski and Simone Ponzi.

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