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Basso returns to action at Giro del Trentino

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Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) is back from injury

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) is back from injury
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) looking pensive ahead of the Giro del Trantino

Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) looking pensive ahead of the Giro del Trantino
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Local heroes: Scarponi, Basso and Ballan at the pre-race press conference

Local heroes: Scarponi, Basso and Ballan at the pre-race press conference
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The riders meet some of the fans

The riders meet some of the fans
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The panel is ready to answer questions

The panel is ready to answer questions
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Last year's winner Michele Scarponi at the 2012 Giro del Trentino press conference

Last year's winner Michele Scarponi at the 2012 Giro del Trentino press conference
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Scarponi, Basso and Ballan deep in conversation

Scarponi, Basso and Ballan deep in conversation
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The press room at the 2012 Giro del Trentino

The press room at the 2012 Giro del Trentino
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) signs up for the 2012 Giro del Trantino

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) signs up for the 2012 Giro del Trantino
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) has had a decent 2012 so far

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) has had a decent 2012 so far
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan will be looking to perform well in front of his home crowd at the 2012 Giro del Trantino

Alessandro Ballan will be looking to perform well in front of his home crowd at the 2012 Giro del Trantino
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan in relaxed mood

Alessandro Ballan in relaxed mood
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Michele Scarponi is the defending champion, having won the 2011 staging of the Giro del Trentino

Michele Scarponi is the defending champion, having won the 2011 staging of the Giro del Trentino
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Back-to-back crashes at Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya in March have been the main stories of Ivan Basso's stop-start 2012 season so far, but the Italian is hoping to commence his season for real at today's Giro del Trentino - a race he won in 2009. The four-stage event gets underway with a team trial at Riva del Grada in the north of Italy and together with next week's Tour de Romandie, it will form Basso's preparations for the Giro d'Italia, which is less than three weeks away.

"I am thinking of this race as a step forward in my journey to the Giro d'Italia," Basso said at a press conference ahead of the race, where he answered questions alongside his compatriots Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC). "The Giro del Trentino and the Tour de Romandie are the races that will decide if I will be competing for the maglia rosa."

The Liquigas-Cannondale rider, who won his iconic home Grand Tour in 2006 and 2010, injured his knee at Paris-Nice in March and then crashed again at the Volta a Catalunya later that month, aggravating that same injury. He has not raced competitively since then, but has spent several days training with his team in the mountains of Tenerife, getting some valuable miles under his belt.

"I see this race a little like my second season debut," he said. "I can't wait to have the perfect rhythm and I have to restore my confidence to the dynamics of a race. The Trentino has some very tough climbs and that will be great for my progress, but keeping up with the best riders will be tough."