Ivan Basso is likely to target the Tour de France in 2011 but has not ruled out also trying to win a second consecutive Giro d'Italia.
The Liquigas-Doimo rider won the 2010 Giro ahead of David Arroyo and teammate Vincenzo Nibali but then struggled in the Tour de France, finishing 32nd, almost an hour behind Alberto Contador.
The mountainous profiles of the Giro and the Tour in 2011 seems to make winning both grand tours almost impossible. Basso still believes he can win the Tour and Nibali has said he wants to target the Giro but Basso denies that means Liquigas-Doimo has decided its leadership strategy for 2011.
Basso was not at the presentation of the 2011 Giro d'Italia route on Saturday because he was riding the Vuelta Chihuahua criterium in Mexico. However he told Gazzetta dello Sport the seven mountain finishes and the limited time trials in the 2011 Giro make it perfect for him.
"I like the route a lot. It's got everything and is perfect for me. Who said I'm not going to ride it?" he said.
"Believe me. Nothing has been decided yet. We've still got to speak about it. Compared to this year, things have changed. How many people thought I'd win the Giro and Vincenzo would have the season he has. One thing is for sure, we can't fight to be the leader inside the team. We've got to talk about it and I'm sure we'll find a solution."
"There are a lot of aspect to evaluate, including what I feel in my heart. I could help Nibali at the Giro and then get his help at the Tour. It's easy to say that but it's a lot harder to put it into practice. We'll make the right decision. Of course, it's not a secret that I still haven't won a yellow jersey."
Despite being in Mexico, Basso has studied the route of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
"I don’t like playing the game of talking about if it's a hard Giro or an easy Giro. The most important thing is how the riders race it," he said.
"I've noticed that with the dirt roads, the testing descents, the tough roads and the possible traps, there won't be any easy or transfer stages. The strongest rider will definitely win and he'll be a climber."
"The Giro has everything and everything is there in the right amount. I think the Zoncolan stage best reflects the spirit of the 2011 Giro. I dropped Evans and it changed my career. In 2010 there was a pre-Zoncolan and a post-Zoncolan. The same thing could happen in 2011. And if the Crostis is as hard as people are saying…."
"The time trial could also be decisive because it's more than 30km long and so is twice as long as the final time trial to Verona this year."
The Liquigas team is expected to finalise its plans and goals for the 2011 season at the first get together of the winter in early December.
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.