Basso begins his season in San Luis

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) has reiterated his goal of winning this year’s Tour de France in 2011. The Italian has begun his season early by riding the Tour de San Luis in Argentina as a way of avoiding training in the cold in Europe.

The two-time Giro d‘Italia winner admitted he will use the seven-day South American race as warm-weather training and will take on a domestique role for his teammate and overall contender Eros Capecchi.

"I want to win the Tour de France," Basso said. "My goal for the season is the Tour de France. I am 33 years old, I won the Giro twice, I made the podium in the Tour de France, but to win it is the dream of every cyclist, to go down in history. The Tour is the Tour and not easy to win, but it is special. If I can be the Basso who won the Giro, then I have no fear and I can win the Tour.”

Basso may also ride this year’s Giro d’ Italia in support of teammate Vincenzo Nibali but will not make a definitive decision until April.

He last competed in the Tour de San Luis in 2009, the start of his first full season after completing a two-year suspension.

"I am very happy to be in Argentina again because it is amazing to see the people's passion for the sport,” Basso said. “I’ve talked to people who came from thousands of miles away to see this race. And because of that I want to give back for so much affection.”

Basso finished fifth overall two years ago but noted that an increase in climbing and an additional mountaintop finish has made the race more difficult this year.

“Every year the race gets better and tougher,” Basso said. “There are many quality riders and I am sure the strongest will win. This is my first race of the season and I'm not in super form because I’m coming from the winter. But I do have high morale after last season."

"My goal here is to have a good week and do the best job possible for my team because we have two or three riders in shape. My team came to win the race and we have Capecchi, who is fit, and a good sprinter in Jacopo Guarneri, who has chances of winning a stage.”

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