Ivan Basso: “I’m prepared to help Contador win the Giro”
A two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia – a race in which he took six stage victories – Ivan Basso is one of the most successful Italian riders of the past 15 years. A pro since 1999, he raced for such teams as Fassa Bortolo, CSC and Liquigas, before eventually signing a two-year contract with Tinkoff-Saxo, where he joined Alberto Contador in his quest of making the legendary Giro-Le Tour double. Although he was the leader of his previous squads, Basso isn’t unsettled by the fact that he’ll now ride as a “lieutenant” of Contador in the mountains, where he’s expected to play a key role.
A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to interview the 37-year-old cyclist from Gallarate and find out more about his preparation for the Corsa Rosa, his best memories from here and Alberto Contador’s chances of winning the Trofeo Senza Fine for the second time, after the 2008 edition.
– Ivan, the 2015 Giro d’Italia is your 9th since turning pro. Were you nervous before the start?
The days before the start are always nervous, because I feel like I’m ready to make my debut here. I’m focused to be at 110% and give everything, both for my fans and my team.
– You’ve won the trophy twice: in 2006 and 2010. Which of these triumphs you rate higher?
It’s impossible to pick one of the two trophies, considering the wins came în different moments of my career. What’s for sure is that each time I was very touched and the feelings I had are unforgettable.
– And how about your stage wins? Which is the most important one?
One of the victories of which I can say it means a lot for me is the one I got on the Monte Zoncolan, back in 2010, because it came on one of the most toughest climbs in Europe, and also because it came after a very difficult moment of my career. It was a turning point, one which I’ll never forget.
– How did you prepare for the race?
I trained for this race like I was going for the general classification, in order to be ready to give everything in case the team needs me. I’m very motivated for the Giro and fueled by the support I get from my fans. I also went on the recon of a couple of stages, like the Valdobbiadene individual time trial (ed. – stage 14) and the Monte Ologno, which comes in stage 18. Anyway, in a Grand Tour you always have to stay alert, because anything can happen, even on a flat stage.
– Is Alberto Contador the main favorite for the overall victory?
Alberto is prepared, both from a physical and a mental point of view. He didn’t leave anything to chance, he studied the profile of the race and wants to win this race. Il Giro is one of his biggest goals of the season. He has a huge talent, he’s very determined and ready to give everything in order to succeed, and I’m happy to help a champion of his tally
– Who is his biggest rival: Richie Porte, Fabio Aru or Rigoberto Uran?
All three are powerful rivals and we have to watch out for them in every single moment. They proved themselves in the past and they can be dangerous in many of the stages. It would be a huge mistake to underestimate them.