Riis: No Giro for Basso

Although Ivan Basso and his CSC boss Bjarne Riis are a few weeks away from deciding the Italian's 20

Although Ivan Basso and his CSC boss Bjarne Riis are a few weeks away from deciding the Italian's 20


Tour de France runner-up Ivan Basso and his CSC team manager Bjarne Riis look set to focus fully on the Tour next season, based on comments Riis has made to the Danish paper Politiken.

Riis acknowledged that CSC had been trying to sign two-time Giro winner Gilberto Simoni because he is planning to change his team's strategy for the 2006 Giro. "We will not be going to Italy with a rider who will be among the favourites for the podium, we will be focusing on other objectives for the race," said Riis. "Christian Vande Velde is very motivated by the race and he can aim for the top 10," Riis added.

Although Basso has denied that his efforts at the Giro, where he won two stages in the final week but also suffered with severe stomach problems, may have cost him even the slightest bit of form at this year's Tour, he now looks certain to concentrate totally on winning the first Tour in the post-Lance Armstrong era. On the basis of back-to-back podium finishes, the Italian is currently the favourite to take next year's yellow jersey.

Basso's programme for next season will be decided when he meets with Riis at CSC's first pre-season training camp in December.

By that point Basso and the rest of us will know what Tour boss Jean-Marie Leblanc is planning for his final year in the post. Papers across Europe are taking wildly diverging guesses about what mountains may appear in next year's Tour, with Alpe d'Huez, Mont Ventoux, Hautacam, the Puy de Dome and Andorra all getting mentions as summit finishes.

Will Jean-Marie bow out by sending the Tour peloton up all of them? We'll all find out on Thursday when the route is announced in Paris

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