Basso: I'll only ride Giro d'Italia if I can fight for pink

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) showed signs of improvement as the Giro del Trentino drew to a close on Friday, but the Italian said that he will only race the Giro d’Italia if he is certain that can compete for the pink jersey. Basso will make a final decision on his participation in the corsa rosa after he competes at the Tour de Romandie from April 24-29.

“I’m satisfied, but I need to have further answers from the Tour de Romandie before I cast off all of my doubts about taking part in the Giro d’Italia,” Basso said. “I can say that I’m optimistic, for me and the team, but I only want to be at the start of the Giro if I can genuinely fight for the pink jersey.”

Basso’s Liquigas-Cannondale stablemate Vincenzo Nibali has long been slated to ride the Tour de France, but the Sicilian is waiting in the wings to lead at the Giro if required. An announcement on Nibali’s participation – and on a possible contract extension – is set to be made following Liège-Bastogne-Liège this weekend.

Basso has endured a torrid beginning to his 2012 campaign and failed to finish a race in the opening months of the season. After coughing up five minutes on the Punta Veleno on Thursday, however, Basso enjoyed a much stronger outing on the final stage to the summit of the mighty Passo Pordoi.

Although he came home almost two minutes down on stage winner Darwin Atapuma (Colombia-Coldeportes) and overall winner Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF Inox) on the Pordoi, Basso rubbed shoulders with a number of his fellow Giro contenders en route to 14th place on the stage and 22nd overall.

“I set off with the objective of getting better, and focusing only on my sensations and not on results,” said Basso. “It was a really hard Giro del Trentino, but above all, it was a really useful one. I tackled all the stages to the best of my ability, looking to get the most out them so that my condition could improve. I think I succeeded in that.”

Basso’s sentiments were echoed by directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta. “We got the signals that we wanted especially in terms of physical condition,” he said. “Now we have to improve the quality of the pedalling and improve our movement during the races. The Tour de Romandie is the right place to make that leap in quality.”

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