Aug 26th, 09. Ivan Basso wants to win the Vuelta. It's his first time racing the Spanish Grand Tour and he thinks the course suits him well.
A relaxed Basso is ready to win the Vuelta (c)Sirotti
In comparison to the pressure Basso faced at the Giro d'Italia back in May, the Italian says he is more relaxed in the lead up to this tour.
"I have dealt with the preparation for this race calmly and without undue stress," said Basso in a Team Liquigas statement.
At the Giro, Basso was out to create a successful comeback after finishing his suspension for involvement in Operation Puerto.
His 5th place wasn't what he was after, but he later described the tour as "intense and satisfying".
"I think that the first part of my season was good for me," he said.
Over the last few months Basso says he has been concentrating on areas to improve, specifically changes of pace, and feels he can trust his instinct again. "At the end, now that I have regained the dynamics of the race, I have chosen to rely on personal feelings rather then scientific data," he said.
Basso is prepared and motivated for the Spanish tour. "It is the first time in my career that I face Vuelta and I want to leave my mark," he said.
"The final victory is a concrete goal" Over the 21 stages the peloton faces five uphill finishes, hard stages full of climbs and two difficult time trials. "I can't deny that it is suitable to my characteristics. This factor, together with the good condition that I reached thanks to races in August, allows me to be optimistic: the final victory is a concrete goal."
Basso has the help of a strong Liquigas team, including Daniele Bennati, Roman Kreuziger and Manuel Quinziato.
Basso's competition for the overall title will likely come from other riders with something to prove;
- Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Samuel Sanchez ((Euskaltel-Euskadi) want to shine on home soil.
- Alexandr Vinocourov (Astana) wants to prove his rightful place in Astana.
- Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) wants to make amends for a poor Tour de France.
And whilst Andy Schleck might not have something to prove, he and his strong Saxobank team always take a lot of beating.
The Vuelta starts on August 29th and continues until September 20th.
RoadCycling.co.nz will have full coverage of the Vuelta including stage reports, results, photos and comments from our kiwi riders.