Liquigas to push Basso for Tour glory

Liquigas to push Basso for Tour glory
By Eurosport

11/01/2011 at 08:24Updated 12/01/2011 at 00:24

Liquigas-Cannondale climber Ivan Basso has identified his main target for the 2011 season - victory on the Tour de France.

Last season's winner of the Giro d'Italia revealed his team already have a strategy in place for the biggest races of the year, with Basso their number one hope for Tour victory.

"After two victories in the Giro (in 2006 and 2010), I now dream of winning the Tour de France," Basso said.

But the mountain specialist will have to take a back seat when defending his Giro crown this time around, with team-mate and last year's Vuelta a Espana champion Vincenzo Nibali to be backed by the Liquigas team for glory.

That policy has put Basso's Giro participation in doubt, but the Italian insisted he would be happy to play a supporting role.

"If I take part (in the Giro), it will be to help Nibali," he said. "I will take a decision in the coming months."

Basso added that the decision to focus on the Tour de France was partly based on a promise he made to his fitness coach Aldo Sassi, who died in December aged 51.

"He asked me to wear the yellow jersey," Basso said. "His death was a terrible blow. He will be missed.

"In any case, I don't think this will be my last Tour, I've still got some years ahead of me as a contender. The course seems to be favourable to climbers."

Basso, 33, will be one of the more experienced riders in a youthful Liquigas team, which has an average age of just 25 this season.

Liquigas team:

Ivan Basso (ITA), Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Roman Kreuziger (CZE), Franco Pellizotti (ITA), Alerio Agnoli (ITA), Francesco Bellotti (ITA), Daniele Bennati (ITA), Maciej Bodnar (POL), Davide Cimolai (ITA), Francesco Chicchi (ITA), Tiziano Dall'Antonia (ITA), Mauro Finetto (ITA), Jacopo Guarnieri (ITA), Robert Kiserlovski (CRO), Kristjan Koren (SLO), Aliaksandr Kuchynsky (BLR), Daniel Oss (ITA), Maciej Paterski (POL), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Peter Sagan (SVQ), Ivan Santaromita (ITA), Sylwester Szmyd (POL), Brian Bach Vandborg (DEN), Alessandro Vanotti (ITA), Elia Viviani (ITA), Frederik Willems (BEL), Oliver Zaugg (SUI)