Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Basso and the Tour de California...

Date: February 18 - 25, 2007

The AMGEN Tour of California will bring the drama and excitement of a professional bicycle stage race to the California coast. The world's top professional teams will compete over an eight-day, approximately 650-miles race on a route that includes the California redwoods, wine country and the Pacific Coast.

Discovery Channel's Ivan Basso says he will start his season at the Tour of California hinting he would likely support American team-mate Levi Leipheimer.

"Well the objectives for 2007 are the same ones as before, it's useless to hide that the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France are my objectives, but I'm going step-by-step as I'll start at the Tour of California this year and then go ahead," the Italian told the Cyclingnews in an interview released on Monday.

Basso, who signed with Discovery over the winter-break, is focused completely on getting past a 2006 season strife with doping controversy and focusing on the Tour-Giro double.

"I'm a rider who has made my career on the Giro and Tour as the most important points, it's clear that those are the objectives for the rest of my career."

As for his season-opener in the USA, the 2006 Giro D'Italia victor says he would not likely be in shape to contend for the title when the race starts on February, 18.

"I'll have a good position, but bad legs," he said. "I think for me the desire to race is high, but my condition isn't that good to have any ambitions. We'll have a very strong team that is really well prepared to get an excellent result."

"I'll be there in good condition to ride a good race, but not a competitive level with the best. California is just the beginning of my season. I can't expect a real result in the time trial to be competitive there."