Basso: There is still time before Tour's first climbs

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) believes that he still has time to find his form before the start of the Tour de France. The Italian has struggled at the Critérium du Dauphiné, as he suffers from the fall-out of a May training crash.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Basso insisted that the only solution to his current predicament was to keep working.

“I’m still someone who has won the Giro, I won’t use a magic wand,” Basso said. “I don’t need a metamorphosis, I just need to work.”

Basso floundered during Tuesday’s time trial around Grenoble, which was held on the same course as the penultimate stage of the Tour. He ultimately lost over six minutes to stage winner Tony Martin, but he said his performance was affected by his lack of racing miles in recent weeks.

Basso had not competed since the Tour de Romandie, and spent part of May training at altitude at Mount Etna, the scene of his accident. Although he has since recovered from the facial injuries sustained in Sicily, Basso missed out on a week’s training.

“It was a hard and difficult time trial, and I’m missing race rhythm,” Basso said. “I’m here to find that. I’ve done quantity, but not a lot of quality [in training]. After the time trial I called Amadio and Zani to reassure them. I wanted them to know what my real condition is.”

Basso acknowledged that his build-up to the Tour has been far from ideal, in spite of his decision to skip the Giro d’Italia in order to pitch his preparation towards July.

“I won’t hide that it’s a very delicate moment,” Basso said. “The fall on Etna injured and upset me. I’m missing a week of work, so I won’t tell everyone that I’ll be flying at the Tour. But I’m doing everything possible to take advantage of the time that remains. And it’s quite a bit. There are 32 days to the first climbs.”

With the Dauphiné heading into a long weekend in the mountains, Basso’s ambitions are realistic for the final three stages.

“I’m looking for a ray of sunshine,” he said. “A sign that I’m on the right path.”

After the race finishes at La Toussuire on Sunday, Basso will stay in France for three more days to reconnoitre part of the Tour route. On Monday, he will view the finishes in the Massif Central at Superbesse-Sancy and Saint Fleur, before riding the Alpe d’Huez stage in its entirety on Tuesday. His reconnaissance concludes on Wednesday with the Izoard and Galibier.




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