Ivan Basso had to share the stage and the spotlight with teammate Vincenzo Nibali at the Gala Ciclistico Internazionale awards night in Italy on Sunday but insists that the two Italians will not fight over who leads the Liquigas team in next year's Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.
Basso is very proud to have won the Giro d'Italia this year and will ride the corsa rosa again in 2011, but still feels he has a chance of winning the Tour de France. He targeted the Tour for several seasons while riding for Team CSC but struggled this year in his first appearance in France since being suspended for his involvement in Operacion Puerto.
"I'm satisfied with my 2010 season because I won the Giro and it was a very special moment in lots of ways. However I can't be totally happy with my season because I wasn't happy with my performance in the Tour," he told Cyclingnews.
"Unfortunately the Giro d'Italia was very hard and that meant that all the riders who ride it then struggled in the Tour."
Basso will be in Paris for the presentation of the 2011 Tour de France route on Tuesday but will not be at the Giro d'Italia presentation on Saturday.
The Liquigas team is keeping tightlipped about their plans for 2011 and Basso refuted the rumours circulating that he will target the Tour de France and Nibali will try and win the Giro in 2011.
"I won’t be in Turin for the Giro presentation because I'm riding a criterium in Cancun which was agreed before the Giro presentation was scheduled for October 23. There's no other reason," Basso said.
"We'll decide our goals for 2011 at the first Liquigas get together at the end of November. Any decision will depend on several factors, including the details of the two races, but I can assure people that there won’t be any problem between me and Vincenzo."
"I've got a lot of respect for him and I think he's got a lot of respect for me. He's had a great season and really emerged as a huge talent. However we know we can work and ride together. We did it this year and it was a success. We're both intelligent enough to make sure e don’t step on each others toes."
Contador and Torri
Basso is always diplomatic and careful about what he says but was willing to comment on Alberto Contador's positive test for Clenbuterol and the announcement by Liquigas CEO Paolo Zani that the company plans to sue Ettore Torri for five million Euro after his comments about doping being widespread in the sport.
"I think like everyone in cycling, I just hope the Contador case will be sorted out very quickly. And I say that for the good of the sport," he said. "I don’t know the details of the case and don’t know what the final outcome will be but the quicker it is clarified the better it is for everyone, including Contador.
"I honestly don’t know much about what Liquigas intends to do. I was racing the Alcobendas criterium on Sunday and only saw what I read in the press. For sure Torri made a mistake by saying what he did. But he didn’t name me specifically and so I don’t feel I need to respond specifically to his accusations."
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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.