Shorts: Basso; Tour of Britain; Revolution

Ivan Basso is full of ambition after joining the Discovery Channel team. Also, the Tour of Britain i

Ivan Basso is full of ambition after joining the Discovery Channel team. Also, the Tour of Britain i
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Basso aiming for the Giro-Tour double Ivan Basso will try to win the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France next season with his new Discovery Channel team. The Italian star signed a two year deal with Johan Bruyneel's outfit, which will aim to have him as captain in two out of the three grand tours. "The team is ready to completely support me in the double challenge of the Giro d'Italia-Tour de France," Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's a project that gives me a lot of enthusiasm. The team and I have the same ambitions." Basso's signature was a major coup for Bruyneel, who commented, "We are excited about Ivan joining the team." Team Discovery Channel's general manager, Bill Stapleton, elaborated, "During Lance's final Tours, Ivan pushed Lance to a new level and we expect great things from him in 2007." Basso dominated the opposition to win the Giro d'Italia this year. He was tipped as one of the favourites to win the Tour de France before his alleged involvement in Operaci¢n Puerto sidelined him for the rest of the season. Although his case has been shelved by the Italian cycling federation and the Italian Olympic Committee, there is a small chance that it could be reopened once the Spanish legal system finishes with Puerto, and can release any relevant information about riders to their national federations. Discovery Channel isn't too concerned about this possibility. "Ivan Basso has now been cleared by his country's top governing sports organizations which examined more than 500 pages of documents and determined on the merits that not only is there no proof of any involvement in illegal practices, but there is no justification for bringing a disciplinary proceeding against Basso," it said in a team statement. Basso's new deal, said to be worth upwards of €1.5 million a year, is a big loss for his former boss Bjarne Riis. The Danish manager of Team CSC expressed his disappointment with Discovery's signing of Basso. "I've lost a lot in this affair. I am now without the best rider in the world, but I also risked the disappearance of my team. "The ProTour teams expressed their intention a few days ago not to sign riders who were involved in Operaci¢n Puerto. In reality, in the end, the individual interests prevailed and the initiatives have been disregarded." Tour of Britain visits SomersetBy Cass Gilbert and Cara Coolbaugh The 2007 Tour of Britain will host its September 11th stage in the county of Somerset. Race organisers announced this on November 7 on a damp, mist-veiled morning in the Somerset levels. A collection of cyclists were present, including 2012 Olympic development riders, veteran Colin Lewis, former Tour of Britain stage winner, and Tony Doyle MBE, the Tour's event director. The organisers are keeping tight lipped about exact route details until January, but disclosed that the 120 mile stage would certainly strike out to Exmoor National Park and showcase Somerset's beautiful countryside and tourist hotspots. It's the first time a stage has come to England's south west - the fact that a 5 year deal has been settled underlines the county's commitment to the race. "Somerset has great riding - some of the best roads in Britain," said Doyle. He added that the council's keen support would undoubtedly be an important element to the stage's success, and in turn its high profile should boost local interest in cycling. "the Tour is a chance to ignite initiatives - commuting by bicycle, reducing congestion and improving the health and state of the nation." Somerset County Council also anticipates that it will be the ideal catalyst: "We aim to promote cycling as part of the national drive towards an active and healthy lifestyle, while also providing a benefit to the environment and encouraging sustainable transport," explained Graham Bagley, the Council's Project Manager for the Tour of Britain. Various cycling related projects are being planned for the lead up to the Tour, including the development of cycle paths in the community. To encourage residents participation, the prize of a Giant SCR3 has been promised in time for Christmas from local retailer the Bicycle Chain, for the best pitch for why the stage should pass through their area. And when the final route details are announced, it's hoped that the public will even attempt the challenge of riding parts of it themselves. There were also some loftier goals expressed for the 2012 Olympic development riders. In the global racing arena, Mr Doyle outlined his vision of the Tour of Britain being on par with other more established stage races, showcasing the best of British cycling talent and providing an inspiration to future London Olympians. Junior World Champions at Revolution Britain's top junior sprinters will be fighting it out for national pride at the next Revolution track meeting on in Manchester on November 18th. Riders from France, Holland and Germany are lined up to take on the British champions, with scores to settle from the Junior World Championships earlier this year. The programme will feature a sprint omnium for the women and men with only two riders destined for overall victory. British National Sprint Coach Iain Dyer has been busy preparing the British juniors for the challenge. "Revolution brought some top German juniors over to race last season and the experience was invaluable for our juniors" said Dyer. "This time the best riders from France, Holland and Germany are on the start sheet so it is a huge deal for the squad. The team has been preparing at a half term training camp and the competition for selection at Revolution has been fierce." Triple Junior World Champion Jason Kenny and Junior Keirin World Champion Anna Blyth lead the charge for the Brits and Dyer confirmed that they will be out to take a few scalps themselves, "Some of the more experienced riders will be after a few scalps of their own looking to sign off in style as they move up into the elite ranks. Anna and Jason will be wearing the rainbow jerseys and I know that they will race as hard as they can to ensure victory". Kenny is likely to be the target of French sprinters Ghislain Boiron and Nicolas Bourin who he beat to take the Keirin title at the Junior Worlds with Blyth also facing a rematch against Germany's Charleen Delev. Other international competitors include Yorick Bos, Jeffrey Kuipers, Elise van Hage and Anouk Ligthart from Holland Sacha Hubner, Tobias Wachter and Hannah Welte from Germany and Junior 500m Time Trial World Champion Sandi Clair from France. For more information, visit www.cyclingrevolution.com.
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