Monday, July 18, 2011

Ivan Basso's Thoughts Before the Final Week

Ivan Basso, the Liquigas-Cannondale captain, commenting today during the final rest day about the upcoming final six stages:

"I’m well aware of what’s ahead and just how taxing the Alps can be. Your head and motivations can make the difference but you also need the legs and strength obviously. We’ve worked unbelievably hard so far and I can’t remember such a tough and exhausting Tour in my career. Whether it’s been the weather, the routes, the battle for every finish....we’ve been “flat out” since the start. The Pyrenees were demanding but provisional: the group of contenders is clear but the time gaps are quite small. Personally I’m very happy with Luz-Ardiden but less so with Plateau de Beille. I’ve reflected hard on the last stage in the Pyrenees and have to say that the Basso you saw was good with strong legs but not at the top of his game. I’m not one to settle and always aim for the best: I wanted to do better and shake up the classification.

The team and I know what needs to be done. Whoever wants to win needs to have a real blinder of a day and hope that the others just have an average day. This goes for all the Alpine stages: we need to wear down the rivals and split them. I don’t believe in theoretical alliances or over calculating things. My teammates are ready to give it everything they’ve got to support me and that will be my strength. I feel fresh and on form and know I can give everyone a run for their money. Evans could be seen as a favorite due to his position in the classification and to the time trial, he could win the yellow jersey if he doesn’t fade in the Alps. Contador is still dangerous, he could flip the situation with one of his trademark actions. Another one to keep an eye on is Sanchez, while the Schleck brothers can play a double hand. Voeckler? He’s got a good time advantage and is in incredible condition plus the yellow jersey gives him real incentive: I don’t see why he shouldn’t be one of the potential winners."

When asked about the deciding stages, Basso is convinced that, "They can all be deciders. My philosophy is one step at a time, and to take the Tour day by day. You always need to be ready for anything and live every day as if it’s the decider. That’s the only way to hope and dream."

The decisive stages, Stages 16 through 20 (stage 20 is an individual TT), Stage 21 is Paris:

Photo: Ivan Basso, Stage 14, Plateau de Beille (Bettini)

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