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Basso: "I'm ready!"

"I'm 100 percent ready for the Giro d'Italia. I've done everything I can to be in great shape - perhaps the best shape I've ever been in. I aim for a big result, and I'm not afraid to say that we're going for the overall victory. Perhaps some of the other riders prove to be better than me, but then we'll just have to accept that," said a confident Ivan Basso at Friday's press conference in Reggio Calabria.

Especially in the Italian press, the expected duel between Ivan Basso and Damiano Cunego has received a lot of attention. However, the Team CSC captain is not worried about who he is up against. "I don't like to put names on my rivals," said Basso. "My preparation has been perfect, and that's what I've been focusing on since Bjarne and I decided to go for the Giro. I expect a tough race, and it's clear for everyone to see, the course is very brutal. I'm not a climber by nature and I'm not a time trial specialist, but I know I can do both at a very high level. Last but definitely not least, I have a strong team behind me, and all our riders are ready to support me as much as they possibly can."

Ivan Basso got his international breakthrough finishing third in last year's Tour de France, where he was the only rider able to keep up with Lance Armstrong in the mountains. "Compared to the Tour, my approach to this race is different. Last year I learned so much, about myself and what it's like to be part of a team. Now I'm able to benefit from all those experiences. I feel more mature than last year, and I'm ready to be a main contender in the Giro d'Italia," said the 27 year-old.

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