PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
Three days before the Amstel Gold Race, Ivan Basso was researching mountain stages in the Giro and later in the week he was testing his time trial set-up on the track in Buttgen, Germany. These were not optimum conditions to prepare for a week of spring Classics, but then they were never meant to be, writes Susanne Horsdal.
With the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France looming on the horizon, the Italian has his work cut out for him in the coming months, and one of the challenges he's had to sacrifice on that altar has been the spring Classics.
"This is a period of preparation for me before the Giro, so it's just not possible to be a contender in the Classics," explained Basso ahead of Lige-Bastogne-Lige.
Not that he wouldn't like to be a contender. The three times he's ridden La Doyenne he's never finished outside the top 10, and of the three races this week (Amstel, Flche and Lige), he feels that Lige is the one that suits him the best.
"But I don't have the condition to do Lige like I've done it in the past couple of years. With the way I'm riding now I can't go at the bottom of Saint-Nicolas with Di Luca and Rebellin. I have to get in an early breakaway to have a chance," said the CSC rider, who realises that not even that situation is very likely. "And I won't ask my team-mates to ride for me if I can't even finish in the top 10," he added.
Last year he was going strong from the Tour of the Mediterranean through to the Tour of Lombardy, with the spring Classics as one of his objectives during those nine months, but in 2005 the season planning has changed considerably.
"I needed to take it easy in the first months of the year and build up slowly because after the Giro there's the Tour and I want to go well in both," explained Basso. "But on May 7. I'll be there," he added with his eyes clearly on the start of the Giro.