Basso commits to 'wife' Riis

Despite being inundated with offers, Ivan Basso has made clear he has no thoughts whatsoever of leav

Despite being inundated with offers, Ivan Basso has made clear he has no thoughts whatsoever of leav
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Ivan Basso has revealed that he has turned down a number of offers in order to stay with Bjarne Riis at CSC for next season and, so the Italian claims, several more to come. Speaking to Danish paper Ekstra Bladet, Basso, who finished third in the Tour de France, described his relationship with Riis as one of "a husband and wife in a good marriage". "I've received a lot of offers and I feel very flattered, but the reply has always been the same: no," said 26-year-old Basso. "Bjarne is my team directeur, but above all he is my friend, he believed in me and I will never forget that. He signed me before I was a strong Tour rider and now we want to win the race together." Basso's contract with the CSC team runs until the end of 2006, but the Italian said that he hoped to stay with the team for "three, four, five or even six years." "Winning the Tour is a long-term project, but each year I have ridden I have improved, and this year I have been better than ever. In 2002, I finished 18 minutes behind Armstrong, in 2003 it was 10, and this year six, plus I stayed with him on two mountain stages," said Basso. "With a year's more experience it is possible for me to win next year, although it will not just be between him and me."

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