Ivan Basso has named Vincenzo Nibali as his favourite for the 2012 Giro d’Italia and suggested that Liquigas-Cannondale will tackle the race with two leaders. It had been rumoured that Nibali would forgo the Giro in order to focus on the Tour de France, but Basso insisted that he would be happy to ride alongside Nibali in May.
“My favourite for the Giro is Nibali,” Basso told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’m convinced that in the end Vincenzo will be at the Giro too.
“The route as a whole is very well-suited to him and the absolute priority for Liquigas is to perform well at the Giro. Who will be the leader? Between us, there’s reciprocal respect. There’s no need to talk, the role of captain will be decided by the legs.”
According to Liquigas-Cannondale manager Roberto Amadio, a decision on Nibali’s participation will be left open until late April. “We’ll take stock after Liège-Bastogne-Liège, keeping in mind the form and desire of the riders,” Amadio said.
Basso believes that his own success or failure at the Giro will hinge on the race’s penultimate stage, which finishes atop the Stelvio after crossing the Mortirolo. At 2,758m, the Stelvio would be the highest summit finish in Giro history, but Basso is concerned that the weather might scupper his best-laid plans.
“If it snows on the Stelvio on May 26, we won’t go up it, and it will become hard for me to think about winning the Giro,” Basso warned. “I can hardly think of dropping everyone on the way up to Lago Laceno or Piani dei Resinelli. It’s true that the Giro is won day by day and not in one stage, but where I have to make the difference is on the Stelvio and the day before at Pampeago.”
Basso is hopeful that the final kilometres of the Stelvio can be a perfect springboard to ride into the maglia rosa. “The last 8km are 2000 metres above sea level and the last 3km are hellish,” he said. “You don’t need tactics there, just legs. The problem is that on the Stelvio it can snow even in August.”