On a cold and rainy evening in Milan, at a palace controlledby NATO forces, the de facto Italian National team, Liquigas-Cannondale, announced its intentions. After winning both the Vuelta and the Giro in 2010, the team is missing only one major victory, the Tour de France. After standing on the Tour podium a step below Lance Armstrong, in what seems like another lifetime, Ivan Basso is once again setting his sights on the Tour de France.
At the team launch Peloton snatched a few moments to chat with Ivan about the Tour and splitting the team's leadership role with the talented Vincenzo Nibali.
Peloton: Is the Tour de France your primary goal for 2010?
Basso: I’ve won the Giro two times, my dream, not just for 2011, but for my professional life is to win the Tour de France. I have to invest all my energy there, but I am Italian, and I won the Giro last year and I have the number one on my back and I have to think about that.
Peloton: Your teammate Vincenzo Nibali won the Vuelta last year and is aiming for the Giro this year, will there be any conflict between the two of you?
Basso: No, No, No. We are two leaders and we have to split the job…. It’s a good moment for him to try to win the Giro for the first time. If I ride the Giro, it is to support him.
Peloton: This years Tour de France looks like a race for the climbers. Do you feel confident it suits you?
Basso: A rider like me, I arrive eight times in the top five (of the Tour de France). I don’t think there is a bad course for me. I think the power for the stage race rider, it gets stronger for three weeks…The Giro and the Tour are fantastic races. It’s the difference you make in the last week. That’s the point.
Basso listens to Nibali stake his claim on the Giro at Liquigas-Cannondale's Team launch in Milan.