Basso focuses on time trialling

After losing five minutes to Lance Armstrong in the time trials at last year's TDF, Ivan Basso has b

After losing five minutes to Lance Armstrong in the time trials at last year's TDF, Ivan Basso has b

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By aiming for the top in both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, Ivan Basso has his work cut out for him, and a key part in attempting to achieve that aim is by improving his time trialling skills, writes Susanne Horsdal. In a press conference on Thursday, the Italian admitted that losing five minutes to Lance Armstrong in two time trials in last year's Tour was a problem that needed fixing if he's to have a realistic shot at winning La Grande Boucle this year.

However, with CSC manager Bjarne Riis by his side, nothing is being left to chance, and consequently a lot of hours and effort have been put into time trial work for the past few months. "And it's something that we'll keep a lot of emphasis on all the way up to the start of the Giro and the Tour," Bjarne Riis subsequently told procycling.

In fact, the work began last year when Basso's position on the bike was changed considerably, a task which also included testing in a wind tunnel. Since then the Italian has put in a lot of kilometres on his time trial bike and this week he was testing on the track in Buttgen, Germany.

"We tested his technique and got confirmation that the work we put in last year was right. We also fine-tuned some details and tried out different types of wheels," Riis explained.

As a rider, the Danish team manager was known for obsessing about his bikes and going into a lot of detail, but it's still the rider who pushes the bike and in Basso's case it's the physique as well as the head that's being exercised. Physically, he's been training muscle groups - in particular in his back and arms - that are needed particularly when time trialling, and the mental aspect of the fight against the clock has been - and still is - being worked on by, for instance, riding a lot of short intervals with 100 per cent concentration.

"It's a matter of being able to keep your focus. That can be trained, but it takes some getting used to," said Riis, who can tell from the tests that since he first started worked with Basso the Italian has cut four to five minutes off his time for a 50-kilometre time trial. "And there's more to be gained yet," says Riis, although he believes that it'll be another couple of years before Basso will have fully reached his time trialling potential.

"He'll never be a specialist like Ullrich or Armstrong. That'll be impossible, but he can become much better," promised Riis.

- The final stage of the Tour of Trentino ended in a sprint won by Fassa Bortolo's Andrus Aug. By finishing in the pack behind the Estonian, Mexican climber Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio took the overall title, the biggest stage race win of his career and a good omen for

him and his team before next month's Giro.

Stage 4, Puegnago del Garda-Arco di Trento

1 Andrus Aug (Est) Fassa Bortolo 162km in 4.02.26 (40.09kh)
2 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
3 Daniele Colli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
4 Davide Vigano (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
5 Jurgen van Loocke (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
6 Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) LPR
7 Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Naturino
8 Elia Rigotto (Ita) Domina Vacanze
9 Antonio d'Aniello (Ita) Miche
10 Enrico Grigoli (Ita) Domina Vacanze


Final overall

1 Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 17.45.29
2 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre-Caffita 0.34
3 Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) Domina Vacanze 0.44
4 David Bernabeu (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana 0.52
5 David George (SA) Barloworld 1.14
6 Tiaan Kannemeyer (SA) Barloworld 1.15
7 Julian Sanchez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 1.23
8 Jose Rujano (Ven) Colombia-Selle Italia
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Krka 1.29
10 David Latasa (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana 1.39

36 Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas-Bianchi 16.37
49 Jamie Burrow (GB) Amore e Vita 22.39
79 Steve Cummings (GB) Landbouwkrediet 36.13

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