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Turpin tips Basso as Giro favourite

Ludovic Turpin, who won stage 5 to Briançon after climbing the Izoard in the Dauphiné in 2006 was the last rider from the morning breakaway to be caught by the leaders on the Zoncolan. He was particularly impressed with Ivan Basso, who passed him with 5.7 kilometres to go.

“It was a nice breakaway and I don’t regret being it it," the Ag2r-La Mondiale rider said. “I would have needed six or seven minutes lead at the bottom of the climb to make it the same way I did it at the Dauphiné but we only had three minutes. It was definitely not enough on a climb like the Zoncolan. It’s so steep that you can’t increase your speed by even 1km/h. In all my career, I’ve never seen such a hard climb.”

“It’s been a great day of cycling though”, added the Frenchman who turned pro with Ag2 ten years ago. “Even in the middle of the bunch, we realised that we are part of a very nice race. Everything is yet to be decided with one week to go. However, Basso has demonstrated today that he’s the best climber in this race. I suppose the next stage will suit him as well. The hill climb time trial is on a course pretty similar to this one.”

Being a well respected domestique himself, Turpin, 35, is also full of praise for what David Arroyo is doing at the Giro d’Italia. “He still has three and half minutes lead over Basso. It’s significant”, the Frenchman said. “Usually he finished around tenth at the Giro but I see him making the top 3 this time around.”


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