Basso skirts transfer talk at USA Pro Challenge

Ivan Basso remained tight-lipped about his 2015 plans Sunday during the pre-race press conference for the upcoming USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.

"No, I don't have any news," Basso replied when asked if he had any announcements about a contract for next year.

Basso's Cannondale teammate Peter Sagan has already announced that he signed a contract with Tinkoff-Saxo for 2015 and beyond, and there are widespread rumors that Cannondale will move its sponsorship to Slipstream Sports, owner of the Garmin-Sharp WorldTour team.

But Basso could not be drawn out when asked about the current team situation.

"We are professionals," he said. "We do 100 percent our job, and our job is to ride our bikes fast for Cannondale until the end of the season. We have other people on the team to fix that stuff. One-hundred percent of my activity at the moment is the USA Pro Challenge. We have a week in front of me and in front of my team that is really hard. So we think of this."

Basso and most of the Cannondale squad racing in Colorado have been in the US for three weeks now, trying to acclimatize to the high altitudes of last week's Tour of Utah and this week's race.

"The acclimatization isn't the problem," he said of the US racing. "The problem is the speed of the bunch. Normally I feel OK before Utah, but it's really not easy for the riders when you go full gas up there. You can't recover, and you are always out of the gear. That is the problem."

Basso finished 42nd overall in Utah, but he believes he will perform better this week in Colorado.

"I hope this week I can get back the form from Utah," he said. "I invest a lot of work and all my energy after the Giro to be in good form for the USA Pro Challenge and to be able to stay with the top riders. I love this race. I've done it two times, and I think it's a really hard week. But when the race is special the riders can give more than 100 percent. So I'm really confident."

This year's Colorado route includes a new summit finish on Monarch Mountain and a long section of gravel on the climb up and the descent off Kebler Pass, which peaks at 3,042 meters. Basso said he was not intimidated by the gravel or the terrain.

"In 2010 when I won the Giro, we did a stage in Montalcino," he said. "It was dirt roads and rain, so those conditions are possible, and it is really bad. We spoke about it before, and we hope for sunshine. When there are bad roads it's better to have normal weather conditions for everybody. But we will do our best."

Basso, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2006 and 2010, will be backed in Colorado by Cameron Wurf, Ted King, Michel Koch, Alan Marangoni, Matej Mohoric, Cristiano Salerno and Elia Viviani.

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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.