Basso hints at Giro departure

Ivan Basso is still hoping to win a stage at the Giro, but says he could pull out before the finish

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Ivan Basso says he'll kiss the Giro d'Italia goodbye in Wednesday's 16th stage if he hasn't fully recovered from the stomach bug that derailed his hopes for overall victory.

The relatively easy 210km run from Lissone to Varazze on the Ligurian coast tackles the third-cat Bric Breton, an otherwise innocuous hump featured in the 2001-2002 Milan-San Remo Classic. Basso said if the relatively easy climb starts feeling like the Stelvio once again, he'll say arrivederci to the 88th Giro.

"If my legs are still heavy on the Bric Breton, I'll pull out of the Giro," Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "If I believe I can still try to do something in this Giro, I will continue. I still believe I can win a stage, but if I don't feel 100 per cent again, I will quit and think about the Tour de France, which is also very important."

Basso is still hoping to overcome the debilitating stomach problems that sapped his strength in the decisive climbing stages through the ruthless Dolomites last weekend, leaving him nearly 40 minutes adrift of the leaders. Vomiting and unable to eat, a listless Basso saw his hopes of overall victory evaporate on the seemingly endless 48 switchbacks over the imposing Stelvio.

Basso made it through Monday's weather-shortened stage into Lissone and the rest day couldn't come a moment too soon. While the top contenders were entertaining the media on Tuesday's rest day, the 27 year old enjoyed a quiet day away from the media glare, sharing some time with his partner, Micaela, and daughter, Domitilla.

Team CSC officials are still amiss at what might have sent Basso on his ill-timed tailspin. Bjarne Riis told Gazzetta he thought the culprit was some ill-prepared pasta while team-mate Christian Vande Velde, who's also got a funny tummy, points to undercooked eggs as the offender.

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